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In the present edition of my translation I 
have corrected some errors and cleared up some 
obscurities which existed in it as first published, 
and I have made many minor changes in the 
order and rendering of words for the sake of 
greater fidelity to the original, or greater clear- 
ness of expression, or greater ease of diction. I 
have also added largely to the number of the 

In the work of revision, as originally in that 
of translation, I have sought assistance from the 
work of my predecessors in the same field, and 
I have not hesitated to borrow a felicitous word 
or phrase wherever I might find it/ 

I I am thus indebted to the translations in verse of the 
whole poem of my late friends Mr. Longfellow and Sir Fred- 
erick Pollock, and to the translations in prose of my friend the 
Hon. Wilham Warren Vernon, and of Mr. A. J. Butler, 
and also to the prose version of the Inferno by the late Dr. 
John Carlyle, of the Purgatorio by Mr. W. S. Dugdale, and 
of the Paradiso by the Rev. P. H. Wicksteed. But this list 
comprises a very small part of the works to which I am under 
obligation alike in the text and in the notes. 


I have given, perhaps, as much time to the 
revision as to the original making of the trans- 
lation. But a translator, in proportion to his 
competence, is likely to recognize the defects of 
his work, and now, as I look, over the pages 
of my book, I feel the desire to subject them 
to a fresh revision. But it is too late ; I can- 
not expect to do more hereafter for the im- 
provement of my work, than, possibly, to give 
it some final thumbnail touches. 

In looking back over life I am not sorry to 
have devoted much time to the study of Dante. 
It has been far more to me than merely an 
interesting literary occupation. It is especially 
associated in remembrance with two dear mas- 
ters and friends, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
and James Russell Lowell, and to their mem- 
ory I dedicate these volumes. 

Shady Hill, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
I October, 1901. 


The following translation is intended pri- 
marily for two classes of readers : first, for those 
who, unable to read the Divine Comedy in the 
original, desire to obtain knowledge of its con- 
tents ; second, for those who, with more or less 
acquaintance with Italian, undertake to read the 
poem in its original tongue, and need help in 
its interpretation. 

For both these classes the Dante Dictionary * 
of Mr. Paget Toynbee is of especial value. It 
contains the information, in concise and con- 
venient form, which every student of Dante's 
works requires, and is in fact a universal com- 
ment of remarkable completeness and accuracy. 

Beginners of the study of the Divine Comedy 
in Italian will find the English Commentary^ by 
the Rev. H. F. Tozer of great service. It ex- 
plains the form and meaning of words, and the 

1 A Dictionary of Proper Names and Notable Matters in 
the Works of Dante, By Paget Toynbee, M. A. Oxford, 

2 An English Commentary on Dante* s Divina Commedia, 
By the Rev. H. F. Tozer, M. A. Oxford, 1901. 


difficulties of construction, and gives the needed 
information in respect to the matter of the 

The Notes and Illustrations which accom- 
pany Mr. Longfellow's Translation form an 
admirable literary comment on the poem. 

The essay on Dante by Mr. Lowell is the 
best general introduction for a mature reader 
to the life, times, and work of the poet. 

With these books the beginner will find 
himself sufficiently equipped for the intelligent 
study of Dante. But as he advances in the 
study he will require others, among the most 
desirable of which are the following : — 

Fay, Dr. E. A. Concordance of the Divina 

Commedia, Boston, 1888. 
Moore, Rev. Dr. Edward. Contributions to 
the Textual Criticism of the Divina Com- 
media, Cambridge, 1889. 
Moore, Rev. Dr. Edward. Studies in BantCy 
First and Second Series, Oxford, 1896 and 

AW of the works of Dr. Moore, the 
chief of living Dante scholars, are of ex- 
ceptional importance and interest. 
Vernon, The Hon''^^ William Warren. Read- 
ings on the Inferno^ the Purgatorio^ and the 
Paradiso of Dante, London, 18 94- 1900. 
In six volumes. 


These Readings consist of a Text, Trans- 
lation and an elaborate and eminently use- 
ful Comment. 
Gardner, Edmund G. Dante's Ten Heavens, 
A Study of the Paradiso. Westminster, 

An interesting study of the interior 
meaning of the Paradiso. 
Every Italian student should possess Tutte 
le Opere di Dante Alighieriy nuovamente rivedute 
nel TestOy dal Dr, E, Moore, published at Ox- 
ford by the University Press. This compact, 
carefully edited and admirably printed volume 
affords the present textus receptus of Dante's 
works. It should be generally adopted for 
purposes of reference. The advantage to the 
scholar is great in having all the works of Dante 
in a single volume, because of their close mu- 
tual relations and frequent mutual illustration. 
There are numerous useful editions of the 
Divine Comedy with Italian notes. Two of 
the best are that of Casini and that of Scartaz- 
zini. The remarkable Enciclopedia Dantesca, 
in two volumes, of the last-named editor is at 
once a complete and elaborate vocabulary for 
Dante's Italian works, and a critical and expla- 
natory dictionary of all that pertains to his life 
and writings. There is no other single book 
which contains so large an amount of informa- 


tion indispensable to the student of Dante as 
these two volumes. They are a monument to 
the industry and learning of one of the most 
devoted scholars of the poet. 

I will not attempt to furnish a list of works 
for the service of those who would become of 
the familiars of Dante. Their field of study 
is the omne scibile* 


In the notes to the following version references to the 
Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas are indicated by 
the initials S. T., followed by numerals designating the Part, 
the Question, and the Article referred to. 


Every fresh attempt at translating the Z)/- 
vine Comedy affords proof of Dante's asser- 
tion that " nothing harmonized by a musical 
bond can be transmuted from its own speech 
without losing all its sweetness and harmony." 
The coalescence of the music and the meaning 
of the verse, in the perfection of which the life 
of poetry consists, cannot be transferred from 
one tongue to another. A new harmony may 
be substituted, but the difference is fatal. The 
translation may have a life of its own, but it is 
not the life of the original. 

No poem in any language displays a more 
indissoluble union of music and meaning, or is 
more informed with a rhythmic life of its own 
than the Divine Comedy, And yet, such is its 
extraordinary distinction, no poem has an intel- 
lectual and emotional substance more independ- 
ent of its metrical form. Its complex structure 
and its elaborate rhyme, highly artificial as they 
are, are so mastered by the genius of the poet 
as to become the most natural expression of the 
spirit by which the poem is inspired ; while at 
the same time the thought and sentiment em- 


bodied in the verse is of such import, and the 
narrative of such interest, that they do not lose 
their worth when transferred to another tongue. 

To preserve in its integrity what may be 
thus transferred, prose is a better medium than 
verse ; and it was because of my conviction to 
this effect that I undertook this translation, in 
which my aim has been to follow the words of 
Dante as closely as our English idiom allows, 
and thus to give to the reader the substance of 
the poem as little altered as possible. 

There are, indeed, many passages in it which 
require explanation or illustration for Italian, 
and, even more, for English readers. To these 
I have supplied footnotes, generally brief. But 
I have desired to avoid distracting attention 
from the direct narrative, and have mainly left 
the understanding and appreciation of it to the 
intelligence and imagination of the reader. 

A far deeper - lying and more pervading 
source of imperfect comprehension of the poem 
than any difficulty of construction, obscurity of 
argument, or remoteness of allusion exists in 
the double meaning that runs through it. The 
account of the poet's spiritual journey is so 
vivid and consistent that it has all the reality 
of an account of an actual experience ; but 
within and beneath runs a stream of allegory 
not less consistent and hardly less continuous 


than the narrative itself. To the illustration 
and carrying out of this interior meaning even 
the minutest details of external incident are 
often made to contribute, with an appropriate- 
ness of significance, and with a freedom from 
forced interpretation such as no other writer of 
allegory has succeeded in attaining. The poem 
may be read with interest as a record of expe- 
rience with little attention to its inner mean- 
ing, but its full interest is only felt when this 
inner meaning is traced, and the moral signifi- 
cance of the incidents of the story apprehended 
by the alert intelligence. The allegory is 
the soul of the poem, — that is, in scholastic 
phrase, the form of its body, giving to it its 
special individuality. 

Thus in order truly to understand and rightly 
appreciate the poem the reader must contin- 
ually seek the inner meaning of its story. 
"Taken literally," as Dante declares in his 
Letter to Can Grande, " the subject is the state 
of the soul after death, simply considered. But 
allegorically taken, its subject is man, according 
as by his good or ill deserts he renders himself 
liable to the reward or punishment of Justice." 
It is the allegory of human life ; and not of 
human life as an abstraction, but of the individ- 
ual life ; and herein, as Mr. Lowell has said, 
" lie its profound meaning and its permanent 


force." And herein, too, lie its perennial fresh- 
ness of interest and the actuality which makes 
it contemporaneous with every successive gen- 
eration. The increase of knowledge, the loss 
of belief in doctrines that were fundamental in 
Dante's creed, the changes in the order of so- 
ciety, the new thoughts of the world, have not 
lessened the moral import of the poem, any 
more than they have lessened its excellence as 
a work of art. Its real substance is as inde- 
pendent as its artistic beauty, of science, of 
creed, and of institutions. Human nature does 
not change from age to age ; the motives of 
action remain the same, though their relative 
force and the desires and ideals by which they 
are inspired vary from generation to generation. 
And thus it is that the moral judgments of a 
great poet whose imagination penetrates to the 
core of things, and who, from his very nature as 
poet, conceives and sets forth the issues of life 
not in a treatise of abstract morality, but by 
means of sensible types and images, never lose 
interest, and have a perpetual contemporane- 
ousness. They deal with the permanent and 
unalterable elements of the soul of man. 

The scene of the poem is the spiritual world, 
of which we are members even while still deni- 
zens in the world of time. In the spiritual 
world the results of sin or perverted love, and 


of virtue or right love, in this life of probation, 
are manifest. The life to come is but the ful- 
filment of the life that now is. 

The allegory in which Dante cloaked this 
truth is of a character that distinguishes the 
Divine Comedy from all other works of similar 
intent. In The Pilgrim's Progress, for example, 
the personages are types of moral qualities or 
religious dispositions, mere simulacra of men 
and women. They are abstractions which the 
genius of Bunyan fails to inform with vitality 
sufficient to kindle the imagination of the reader 
with a sense of their actual, living and breath- 
ing existence. But in the Divine Comedy the 
personages are all from real life, they are men 
and women with their natural passions and emo- 
tions, and they are undergoing an actual expe- 
rience. The allegory consists in making their 
characters and their fates, what all human char- 
acters and fates really are, the types and images 
of spiritual law. Virgil and Beatrice, whose 
natures as depicted in the poem make nearest 
approach to purely abstract and typical exist- 
ence, are always consistently presented as liv- 
ing individuals, exalted indeed in wisdom and 
power, but with hardly less definite and concrete 
humanity than that of Dante himself. 

The scheme of the created Universe held by 
the Christians of the Middle Ages was compar- 


atively simple, and so definite that Dante, in 
accepting it in its main features without modi- 
fication, was provided with the hmited stage re- 
quisite for his design, and of which the general 
disposition was familiar to all his readers. The 
three spiritual realms had their local bounds 
marked out as clearly as those of the earth it- 
self. Their cosmography was but an extension 
of the largely hypothetical geography of the 

The Earth was supposed to be the centre of 
the Universe, and its northern hemisphere was 
the abode of man. At the middle point of this 
hemisphere stood Jerusalem, equidistant from 
the Pillars of Hercules on the west, and the 
Ganges on the east. 

Within the body of this hemisphere was Hell, 
shaped as a vast hollow cone, of which the apex 
was the centre of the globe ; and here, accord- 
ing to Dante, was the seat of Lucifer. The 
concave of Hell had been formed by his fall, 
when a portion of the solid earth, through fear 
of him, ran back to the southern uninhabited 
hemisphere, and formed there, directly antipo- 
dal to Jerusalem, the mountain of Purgatory, 
which rose a solid cone from the waste of waters 
that covered this half of the globe, and at its 
summit was the Terrestrial Paradise. 

Immediately surrounding the atmosphere of 


the Earth was the sphere of elemental fire. 
Around this was the Heaven of the Moon, and 
encircling this, in succession, were the Heavens 
of Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jove, Sat- 
urn, the Fixed Stars, and the Crystalline or First 
Moving Heaven. These nine concentric Hea- 
vens revolved continually around the Earth, 
and in proportion to their distance from it was 
the greater swiftness of each. Encircling all 
was the Empyrean, increate, incorporeal, mo- 
tionless, unbounded in time or space, the proper 
seat of God, the home of the Angels, the abode 
of the Elect. 

The Angelic Hierarchy consisted of nine 
orders, corresponding to the nine moving Hea- 
vens. Their blessedness and the swiftness 
of the motion with which in unending delight 
they circled around God were in proportion 
to their nearness to Him, — first the Seraphs, 
then in succession the Cherubs, Thrones, Dom- 
inations, Virtues, Powers, Princes, Archangels, 
and Angels. Through them, under the gen- 
eral name of Intelligences, the Divine influence 
was transmitted to the Heavens, giving to 
these their circular motion, which was the ex- 
pression of their longing to be united with the 
source of their creation. The Heavens in 
their turn streamed down upon the Earth the 
Divine influence thus distributed among them, 


in constantly varying proportion and power, 
producing divers effects in the generation and 
corruption of material things, and in the dispo- 
sitions and the lives of men. 

Such was the accepted general scheme of the 
Universe. The intention of God in its creation 
was to communicate of His perfection to the 
creatures endowed with souls, that is, to men 
and to angels, and the proper end of every such 
creature was to seek its own perfection in like- 
ness to the Divine. This end was attained 
through that knowledge of God of which the 
soul was capable, and through love which was 
in proportion to knowledge. Virtue depended 
on the free will of man ; it was the good use of 
that will directed to a right object of love. Two 
lights were given to the soul for guidance of 
the will : the light of reason for natural things 
and for the direction of the will to moral vir- 
tue ; the light of grace for things supernatural, 
and for the direction of the will to spiritual vir- 
tue. Sin was the opposite of virtue, the choice 
by the will of false objects of love; it involved 
the misuse of reason and the absence of grace. 
As the end of virtue was blessedness, so the 
end of sin was misery. 

The corner-stone of Dante's moral system 
was the Freedom of the Will ; in other words, 
the right of private judgment with the condition 


of accountability. This is the liberty which 
Dante, that is, man, goes seeking in his journey 
through the spiritual world. This liberty is to 
be attained through the right use of reason, 
illuminated by Divine Grace ; it consists in the 
perfect accord of the will of man with the will 
of God. 

With this view of the nature and end of man 
Dante's conception of the history of the race 
could not be other than that its course was 
providentially ordered. The fall of^man had 
made him a just object of the vengeance of 
God ; but the elect were to be redeemed, and 
for their redemption the history of the world 
from the beginning was directed. Not only in 
His dealings with the Jews, but in His dealings 
with the heathen was God preparing for the 
reconciliation to Himself of man, to be finally 
accomplished in his sacrifice of Himself for 
them. The Roman Empire was foreordained 
and established for this end. It was to prepare 
the way for the establishment of the Roman 
Church. It was the appointed instrument for 
the political government of men. Empire and 
Church were alike divine institutions for the 
guidance of man on earth. 

The aim of Dante in the Divine Comedy was 
to set forth these truths in such wise as to affect 
the imaginations and touch the hearts of men. 


so that they should turn to righteousness. His 
conviction of these truths was no mere matter 
of belief; it had the ardor and certainty of faith. 
They had appeared to him in all their fulness 
as a revelation of the Divine wisdom. It was 
his work as poet, as poet with a Divine com- 
mission, to make this revelation known. His 
work was a work of faith ; it was sacred ; to it 
both Heaven and Earth had set their hands. 

To this work, as I have said, the definiteness 
and the limits of the generally accepted theory 
of the Universe gave the required frame. The 
very narrowness of this scheme made Dante's 
design practicable. He had had the experience 
of a man on earth. He had been lured by false 
objects of desire from the pursuit of the true 
good. But Divine Grace, in the form of Bea- 
trice, who had when alive on earth led him 
aright, now intervened and sent to his aid Vir- 
gil, who, as the type of Human Reason, should 
bring him safe through Hell, showing to him 
the eternal consequences of sin, and then should 
conduct him, penitent, up the height of Purga- 
tory, till on its summit, in the Earthly Paradise, 
Beatrice herself should appear once more to 
him. Thence she, as the type of that know- 
ledge from which comes the love of the Divine 
Being, should lead him through the Heavens 
up to the Empyrean, to the consummation of 
his course in the actual vision of God. 



Dante, astray in a wood, reaches the foot of a hill which 
he begins to ascend ; he is hindered by three beasts ; 
he turns back and is met by Virgil, who proposes to 
guide him into the eternal world i 


Dante, doubtful of his own powers, is discouraged at the 
outset. — Virgil cheers him by telling him that he has 
been sent to his aid by a blessed Spirit from Heaven, 
who revealed herself as Beatrice. — Dante casts off 
fear, and the poets proceed 9 


The gate of Hell. — Virgil leads Dante in. — The pun- 
ishment of those who had lived without infamy and 
vdthout praise. — Acheron, and the sinners on its 
bank. — Charon. — Earthquake. — Dante swoons . 1 6 


The further side of Acheron. — Virgil leads Dante into 
Limbo, the First Circle of Hell, containing the spirits 
of those who lived virtuously but without faith in 
Christ. — Greeting of Virgil by his fellow poets. — 
They enter a castle, where are the shades of ancient 
worthies. — After seeing them Virgil and Dante de- 
part 22 



The Second Circle, that of Carnal Sinners. — Minos. 

— Shades renowned of old. — Francesca da Rimini 29 


The Third Circle, that of the Gluttonous. — Cerberus. 

— Ciacco 



The Fourth Circle, that of the Avaricious and the Prodi- 
gal. — Pluto. — Fortune. — The Styx. 
The Fifth Circle, that of the Wrathful 41 


The Fifth Circle. — Phlegyas and his boat. — Passage 
of the Styx. — Filippo Argenti. — The City of Dis. 
— The demons refuse entrance to the poets ... 46 

The City of Dis. — Erichtho. — The Three Furies. — 

The Heavenly Messenger. 
The Sixth Circle : that of the Heretics 52 


The Sixth Circle. — Farinata degli Uberti. — Caval- 
cante Cavalcanti. — Frederick II 59 


The Sixth Circle. — Tomb of Pope Anastasius. — 
Discourse of Virgil on the divisions of the lower Hell 66 


The Seventh Circle, that of the Violent, first round : 
those who do violence to others. — The Minotaur. — 


The Centaurs. — Chiron. — Nessus. — The River 

of boiling blood, and the sinners in it 72 


The Seventh Circle, second round : those who have 
done violence to themselves and to their goods. — 
The Wood of Self-murderers. — The Harpies. — 
Pier delle Vigne. — Lano of Siena and others . . 79 


The Seventh Circle, third round : those who have done 
violence to God. — The Burning Sand. — Capa- 
neus. — Figure of the Old Man in Crete. — The 
rivers of Hell 86 


The Seventh Circle, third round : those who have done 
violence to Nature. — Brunette Latini. — Prophe- 
cies of misfortune to Dante 93 


The Seventh Circle, third round : those who have done 
violence to Nature. — Guido Guerra, Tegghiaio Al- 
dobrandi and Jacopo Rusticucci. — The roar of Phle- 
gethon as it pours downward. — The cord thrown 
into the abyss '99 


The Seventh Circle, third round : those who have done 
violence to Art. — Geryon. — The Usurers. — De- 
scent to the Eighth Circle 105 


The Eighth Circle : that of the fraudulent ; first pouch : 
pandars and seducers. — Venedico Caccianimico. — 


Jason. — Second pouch : false flatterers. — Alessio 
Interminei. — Thais ill 


The Eighth Circle ; third pouch : simonists. — ^ Pope 
Nicholas III • up 


The Eighth Circle : fourth pouch : diviners, soothsayers, 
and magicians* — Amphiaraus. — Tiresias. — Aruns. 
— Manto. — Eurypylus. — Michael Scott. — As- 
dente * . . 127 


The Eighth Circle : fifth pouch : barrators. — A mag- 
istrate of Lucca. — The Malebranche. — Parley with 
them 135 


The Eighth Circle : fifth pouch : barrators. — Ciampolo 
of Navarre. — Fra Gomita. — Michel Zanche. — 
Fray of the Malebranche .142 


The Eighth Circle. — Escape fi-om the fifth pouch. — 
The sixth pouch : hypocrites, in cloaks of gilded 
lead. — Jovial Friars. — Caiaphas. — Annas. — Frate 
Catalano 149 


The Eighth Circle. — The poets climb fi-om the sixth 
pouch. — Seventh pouch, filled with serpents, by 
which thieves are tormented. — Vanni Fucci. — 
Prophecy of calamity to Dante 156 



The Eighth Circle : seventh pouch : fraudulent thieves. 

— Cacus. — Agnello Brunelleschi and others . . 1 64 


The Eighth Circle : eighth pouch : fraudulent counsel- 
lors. — Ulysses and Diomed .172 


The Eighth Circle : eighth pouch : fraudulent coun- 
sellors. — Guido da Montefeltro 179 


The Eighth Circle : ninth pouch ; sowers of discord 
and schism. — Mahomet and AH. — Fra Dolcino. — 
Pier da Medicina. — Curio. — Mosca. — Bertran de 
Born 186 


The Eighth Circle : ninth pouch. — Geri del Bello. — 
Tenth pouch : falsifiers of all sorts. — Alchemists. 

— Griffolino of Arezzo. — Capocchio . . . .194 


The Eighth Circle: tenth pouch : false personators, false 
money ers, and the false in w^ords. — Myrrha. — 
Gianni Schicchi. — Master Adam. — Sinon of 
Troy 201 


The Eighth Circle. — Giants. — Nimrod. — Ephial- 
tes. — ; Antaeus sets the Poets dov^^n in the Ninth 
Circle 208 



The Ninth Circle : that of traitors ; first ring : Caina. 

— Counts of Mangona. — Camicion de' Pazzi. — 
Second ring : Antenora. — Bocca ' degli Abati. — 
Buoso da Duera. — Count Ugolino 215 

The Ninth Circle : second ring : Antenora. — Count 
Ugolino. — Third ring : Ptolomea. — Frate Alberigo. 

— Branca d' Oria 224 

The Ninth Circle : fourth ring : Judecca. — Lucifer. 

— Judas, Brutus and Cassius. — Centre of the Uni- 
verse. — Passage from Hell. — Ascent to the surface 

of the Southern Hemisphere 233 



Dante^ astray in a wood^ reaches the foot of a hill which 
he begins to ascend; he is hindered by three beasts; he 
turns back and is met by Virgil^ who proposes to guide him 
into the eternal world, 

Midway upon the journey of our life I found 
myself in a dark wood, where the right way was 
lost.' Ah ! how hard a thing it is to tell what 
this wild and rough and difficult wood was, 
which in thought renews my fear ! So bitter is 
it that death is little more. But in order to 
treat of the good that I found in it, I will tell 
of the other things that I saw there. 

I cannot well report how I entered it, so full 
was I of slumber at that moment when I aban- 
doned the true way. But after I had reached 
the foot of a hill,^ where that valley ended which 

1 . V. 3 . The action of the poem begins on the night before 
Good Friday of the year 1300, as we learn from Canto xxi. 
1 1 2—1 14. Dante was thirty-five years old, midway on the 
road of life, or, as he says in the Convito, iv. 24, 30, at "the 
summit of the arch of life." The dark wood is the forest of 
the world of sense, **the erroneous wood of this life" (Id. 
1. 1 24), that is, the wood in which man loses his way. 

2 . V. 1 3 . The hill is the type of the true course of life. 

2 HELL [vv. 15-33 

had pierced my heart with fear, I looked upward, 
and saw its shoulders clothed already with the 
rays of the planet^ which leads man aright along 
every path. Then was the fear a little quieted 
which had lasted in the lake of my heart through 
the night that I had passed so piteously. And 
even as one who with spent breath, issued forth 
from the sea upon the shore, turns to the peril- 
ous water and gazes, so did my mind, which still 
was flying, turn back to look again upon the pass 
which never left person alive.^ 

After I had rested a little my weary body, 
I again took my way along the desert slope,^ 
so that the firm foot wa^ always the lower. And 
lo ! almost at the beginning of the steep a she- 
leopard,^ light and very nimble, which was 

opposed to the false course in the wood of the valley. The 
man conscious of having lost his moral way, alarmed for his 
soul, seeks to escape from the sin and cares in which he is 
involved, by ascending the hill of virtue whose summit is 
"lighted by day spring from on high." 

3. v. 17. According to the Ptolemaic system the sun 
was a planet. 

4. V. 27. The pass is the dangerous road through the 
dark wood, ''the end whereof are the ways of death,** for 
he who walks therein is "dead in trespasses and sins.** 

5. V. 29. Desert, because "narrow is the way that 
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.'* Matthew 
vii. 14. 

6. V. 32. The leopard is the type of the temptations of 
the flesh, the pleasures of sense with their fair, varied out- 
side seeming. 

vv. 34-49] CANTO I 3 

covered with a spotted coat. And she did not 
withdraw from before my face, nay, hindered 
so my road that I often turned to go back. 

The time was the beginning of the morning, 
and the Sun was mounting up with those stars 
that were with him when the Love Divine first 
set in motion those beautiful things ; ^ so that the 
hour of the time and the sweet season were occa- 
sion to me of good hope concerning that wild 
beast with the dappled skin ; but not so that the 
sight which appeared to me of a lion^ did not 
give me fear. He appeared to be coming against 
me, with his head high and with ravening 
hunger, so that it appeared that the air was 
affrighted at him ; and a she-wolf,^ which in her 

7. V. 40. It was a common belief, which existed from 
early Christian times, that the Spring was the season of the 
Creation. By the Julian Calendar, March 25th was the date 
of the Vernal Equinox, and it was assumed that on this day 
the Sun was created and placed in the sign of the Zodiac, 
Aries, to begin his course. The same date was assigned to 
the Annunciation and to the Crucifixion. March 25th was 
thus what may be called the ideal Good Friday. But in 
the year 1300 the actual Good Friday fell on April 8th. 
This is the date which Dante, following the calendar of the 
Church, adopted for that of his journey. The sun was 
rising on the morning of Good Friday, when Dante began 
his attempt to ascend the hill. 

8. V. 47. The lion is the type of pride, the disposition 
which is the root of the sins of violence. 

9. V. 49. The wolf is the type of avarice, that covetous- 

4 HELL [w. 50-67 

leanness seemed laden with all cravings, and ere 
now had made many folk to live forlorn, — she 
brought on me so much heaviness, with the fear 
that came from sight of her, that I lost hope of 
the height. And such as is he who gains will- 
ingly, and the time arrives which makes him 
lose, so that in all his thoughts he laments and 
is sad, such did the beast without peace make 
me, which, coming on against me, was pushing 
me back, little by little, thither where the Sun 
is silent. 

While I was falling back to the low place, 
one who appeared faint-voiced through long 
silence presented himself before my eyes. 
When I saw him in the great desert, " Have 
pity on me ! " I cried to him, " whatso thou 
be, whether shade or real man." He answered 
me : " Not man ; man once I was, and my 

ness of earthly goods which turns the heart from seeking the 
goods of heaven, and is the main source of sins of fraud. 

The imagery of these three beasts seems to have been s\ig- 
gQstQd by yeremiakv. 6. "A lion out of the forest shall 
slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a 
leopard shall watch over their cities.'* 

These three beasts, which hinder the progress of him who 
would ascend the hill of virtue, correspond with the triple 
division of sins into those of incontinence, of violence, and 
of fraud which Virgil makes in the eleventh Canto, accord- 
ing to which the sinners in Hell are divided into three main 

vv. 68-88] CANTO I 5 

parents were Lombards, and both Mantuans 
by country. I was born sub Julioy though 
late/° and I lived at Rome under the good 
Augustus, at the time of the false and lying 
gods. I was a poet, and sang of that just son 
of Anchises " who came from Troy, after proud 
Ilion had been burned. But thou, why dost 
thou return to such great annoy ? Why dost 
thou not ascend the delectable mountain which 
is the source and cause of all joy ? " " Art 
thou then that Virgil and that fount which 
pours forth so broad a stream of speech ? '* re- 
plied I with bashful front to him : " O honor 
and light of the other poets ! may the long 
study avail me and the great love, which have 
made me search thy volume ! Thou art my 
master and my author ; " thou alone art he 
from whom I took the fair style that has done 
me honor. Behold the beast because of which 

10. V. 70. Virgil was twenty-five years old at the time 
of Caesar's death, b. c. 44. 

11. V. 73. " Aeneas, than whom none was more just.'* 
Aeneid^ i. 544. 

12. V. 85. In the Convito Dante says that the word 
autore, here translated ''author," has a double origin and 
meaning. According to the one, it signifies only the poets 
who practice the art of the Muses ; according to the other, 
it means " every one worthy of being believed and obeyed,'* 
and from this is derived the word Authority. Conv, iv. 6. 

6 HELL [vv. 89-109 

I turned ; help me against her, famous sage, 
for she makes my veins and pulses tremble." 
" It behoves thee to hold another course," he 
replied, when he saw me weeping, " if thou 
wouldst escape from this savage place ; for this 
beast, because of which thou criest out, lets not 
any one pass along her way, but so hinders him 
that she kills him ; and she has a nature so 
malign and evil that she never sates her greedy 
will, and after food has more hunger than 
before. Many are the animals with which she 
wives, and there shall be more yet, until the 
hound '^ shall come that will make her die of 
grief. He shall not feed on land or pelf,'^ but 
wisdom and love and valor, and his birthplace 
shall be between Feltro and Feltro.'^ Of that 
low Italy shall he be the salvation, for which 
the virgin Camilla died, and Euryalus, Turnus 
and Nisus of their wounds.'^ He shall hunt 

13. V. loi. After centuries of controversy, it is still 
doubtful of whom the hound is the symbol. 

14. V. 103. Literally, "he shall not feed on land or 
pewter.'* The word peltro, pewter, is a rhyme-word, used 
in a forced meaning, perhaps analogous to our colloquial, 
vulgar use of " tin." 

15. V. 105. No satisfactory explanation has been given 
of the meaning of ** between Feltro and Feltro.'* 

16. V. 108. Camilla and Turnus died for Italy fighting 
against the Trojans, Euryalus and Nisus died on the Trojan 
side. Virgil commemorates them all in the Aeneid. 

vv. II0-I22] CANTO I 7 

her through every town till he shall have put 
her back again in Hell, there whence envy '^ 
first sent her forth. Wherefore I think and 
deem it for thy best that thou follow me, and 
I will be thy guide, and will lead thee hence 
through the eternal place where thou shalt hear 
the despairing shrieks, shalt see the ancient 
spirits woeful who each proclaim the second 
death.'^ And then thou shalt see those who 
are contented in the fire,'^ because they hope 
to come, whenever it may be, to the blessed 
folk; to whom if thou wouldst then ascend, 
there shall be a soul "^ more worthy than I for 

17. V. 1 1 1 . *' The devil seeing that man through obedi- 
ence might ascend whence he through pride had fallen, 
envied him ; and he who first through pride had been the 
devil, that is the fallen one, became through envy Satan, 
that is the adversary." Petri Lombardi, Sententiae, 11. 21. 

18. V. 117. That is, who each by their misery pro- 
claim the torments of the second death. The appellation 
of *'the second death," given to the sufferings endured by 
the sinners in Hell, is derived from Revelation xx. 10, 14 ; 
xxi. 8. " The souls of the good separated from the body 
by death are at rest ; but those of the wicked suffer punish- 
ment ; and the bodies of the good hve again in eternal life, 
while those of the wicked revive for eternal death, which is 
called the second death." S. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, 
xm. 8. 

19. V. 1 1 8. " Contented in the fire," that is, contented 
in the purifying pains of Purgatory, by which they are made 
fit for Paradise. 

20. V. 121. Beatrice. 

8 HELL [vv. 123-136 

that. With her I will leave thee at my depart- 
ure ; for that Emperor who reigns thereabove 
wills not, because I was rebellious ^' to His 
law, that through me any one should come into 
His city. In all parts He governs and there 
He reigns : there is His city and His lofty seat. 

happy the man whom thereto He elects ! " 
And I to him : " Poet, I beseech thee by that 
God whom thou didst not know, in order that 

1 may escape this ill and worse, that thou lead 
me thither where thou now hast said, so that I 
may see the gate of St. Peter,^^ and those 
whom thou reportest so afflicted." 

Then he moved on, and I held behind him. 

21. V. 125. Not actively rebellious, but <*one who did 
not duly worship God.*' See Canto iv. 36. 

22. V. 134. The gate of St. Peter is the gate of Purga- 
tory, which is unlocked by the keys of the Kingdom of 
Heaven that Christ gave to Peter. See Purgatory y Canto 
IX. 127. Whoever passes through this gate is admitted to 
that Kingdom. 


Dante^ doubtful of his own powers^ is discouraged at the 
outset, — Virgil cheers him by telling him that he has been 
sent to his aid by a blessed Spirit from Heaven^ who 
revealed herself as Beatrice, — Dante casts off fear ^ and 
the poets proceed. 

The day was going, and the dusky air was 
taking the living things that are on earth from 
their fatigues, and I alone was preparing to 
sustain the war alike of the journey and of 
the woe, which my memory that errs not shall 

Muses, O lofty genius, now assist me ! 
O memory that didst inscribe that which I saw, 
here shall thy nobility appear ! 

1 began : — 

" Poet, who guidest me, consider my power, 
if it be sufficient, before thou trust me to the 
deep pass. Thou say est' that the parent of 
Silvius while still corruptible went to the im- 
mortal world and was there in the body; and 
truly if the Adversary of every ill was courteous 
to him, it seems not unmeet to the man of 
I. V. 13. In the sixth book of the Aeneid, 

10 HELL [vv. 17-36 

understanding, thinking on the high effect that 
should proceed from him, and on the who and 
the what ^ ; for in the empyrean heaven he was 
chosen for father of revered Rome and of her 
empire ; both which (would one say truth) 
were ordained for the holy place ^ where the 
successor of the greater Peter has his seat. 
Through this going, whereof thou givest him 
vaunt, he learned things which were the cause 
of his victory and of the papal mantle. After- 
ward the Chosen Vessel ^ went thither to bring 
thence comfort to that faith which is the be- 
ginning of the way of salvation. But I, why 
go I thither ? or who concedes it ? I am not 
Aeneas, I am not Paul ; neither I nor others 
believe me worthy of this ; wherefore if I yield 
myself to go, I fear lest the going may be mad. 
Thou art wise, thou understandest better than I 

2. V. 18. It is not strange that God was thus gracious 
to him, since he was the Father of the Roman people (the 
Who), and founder of the Roman empire (the What). 

3. V. 23. Rome as well as Jerusalem was a holy city, 
the Empire as well as the Church a divine institution. All 
profane no less than all sacred history was the divinely or- 
dered course of events leading up to the Incarnation and 
Redemption. See // Convito, iv. 5, and De Monarchia, ii. 
4 and 5. 

4. V. 28. St. Paul. See Acts ix. 15, and 2 Corin- 
thians xii. 1-4. 

vv. 37-62] CANTO II ii 

And as is he who unwills what he willed, and 
by reason of new thoughts changes his purpose, 
so that he withdraws wholly from what he 
had begun, such I became on that dark hill- 
side : because in my thought I abandoned 
the enterprise which had been so hasty in its 

" If I have rightly understood thy speech," 
replied that shade of the magnanimous one, 
" thy soul is hurt by cowardice, which often- 
times encumbers a man so that it turns him 
back from honorable enterprise, as false seeing 
does a beast when it shies. In order that thou 
loose thee from this fear I will tell thee why I 
came, and what I heard at the first moment 
that I grieved for thee. I was among those 
who are suspended,^ and a Lady blessed and 
beautiful called me, such that I besought her 
to command. Her eyes were more shining 
than the star, and she began to say to me sweet 
and clear, with angelic voice, in her speech : 
*0 courteous Mantuan soul! of whom the 
fame yet lasts in the world, and shall last so 
long as motion continues,^ my friend, and not 
of fortune, is so hindered on his road upon the 

5. V. 52. In Limbo, neither in the proper Hell nor in 

6. V. 60. That is : so long as time shall last. '* Time 
is the reckoning of the motion of the heavens. '* // Convito, 
iv. 2, 49. 

12 HELL [vv. 63-86 

desert hillside that he has turned for fear, and 
I am afraid, through that which I have heard 
of him in heaven, lest he be already so astray 
that I may have risen late to his succor. Now 
do thou move, and with thy ornate speech and 
with whatever is needful for his deliverance, 
assist him so that I may be consoled thereby. 
I am Beatrice who make thee go. I come 
from a place whither I desire to return. Love 
moved me, that makes me speak. When I 
shall be before my Lord, I will often praise thee 
to Him.* Then she was silent, and thereon 
I began : ' O Lady of Virtue ! through whom 
alone the human race excels all contained within 
that heaven which has the smallest circles, '' thy 
command so pleases me that to obey it, were 
it already done, were slow to me. There is no 
need for thee further to open to me thy will ; 
but tell me the reason why thou dost not beware 
of descending down here into this centre, from 
the ample place ^ whither thou burnest to re- 
turn.* ' Since thou wishest to know so inwardly, 
I will tell thee briefly,* she replied to me, 

7. V. 78. The heaven of the moon, the innermost of the 
nine revolving heavens, the nearest to the earth. Through 
Beatrice, as symbol of the knov^ledge of the things of God 
revealed to man, and by reason of man's capacity to receive 
the revelation, the human race is exalted above all other 
created things save the angels alone. 

8. v. 84. The Empyrean. 

vv. 87-103] CANTO II 13 

' wherefore I fear not to come here within. 
One need be afraid only of those things that 
have power to do one harm, of others not, for 
they are not fearful. I am made by God, 
thanks be to Him, such that your misery touches 
me not,9 nor does the flame of this burning 
assail me. A gentle Lady '° is in heaven who 
feels compassion for this hindrance whereto I 
send thee, so that she breaks stern judgment 
there above. She summoned Lucia " in her re- 
quest, and said, " Thy faithful one now has need 
of thee, and I commend him to thee." Lucia, 
the foe of every cruel one, moved and came to 
the place where I was, seated with the ancient 
Rachel." She said, " Beatrice, true praise of 

9. V. 92. "The blessed in glory will have no compas- 
sion for the damned, ... for it would impugn the justice 
of God." S, T. Suppl. xciv. 2. 

10. V. 94. The Virgin Mary, the fount of mercy, never 
spoken of by name in Hell. 

11. V. 100. Whether any real person is intended by 
Lucia is doubtful, but as an allegorical figure she is the 
symbol, as her name indicates, of illuminating Grace. 

12. V. 102. Rachel was adopted by the Church, fi-om a 
very early period, as the type of the contemplative life, that 
life in which the soul withdrawing itself from earthly con- 
cerns, and devoting itself to the consideration of the things 
of God, attains to heights above the reach of reason, and has 
a foretaste of the felicity of heaven. The place of Beatrice, 
the type of instruction in the divine mysteries, is therefore 
rightly at the side of Rachel. 

14 HELL [vv. 104-129 

God, why dost thou not succor him who so 
loved thee that for thee he came forth from the 
vulgar throng ? Dost thou not hear the pity 
of his plaint ? Dost thou not see the death that 
combats him on the stream where the sea has 
no vaunt ? " '^ Never were persons in the world 
swift to do their good, or to fly their harm, as 
I, after these words were uttered, came down 
here from my blessed seat, putting my trust in 
thy upright speech, which honors thee and them 
who have heard it/ After she had said this to 
me, weeping she turned her lucent eyes, whereby 
she made me more quick to come. And I came 
to thee thus as she willed. I withdrew thee 
from before that wild beast which took from thee 
the short way on the beautiful mountain. What 
is it then ? Why, why dost thou hold back ? 
why dost thou harbor such cowardice in thy 
heart ? why hast thou not daring and assurance, 
since three such blessed Ladies care for thee in 
the court of Heaven, and my speech pledges 
thee such good ? " 

As the flowerets, bent and closed by the chill 
of night, when the sun brightens them erect 
themselves all open on their stem, so I became 

13. V. 108. Dost thou not see him in danger of death 
from the sins that assail him in the flood of human life, a 
flood more stormy with passion and darker with evil than 
the ocean with its tempests ? 

vv. 130-142] CANTO II 15 

with my drooping courage, and such good dar- 
ing ran to my heart that I began like a person 
enfreed : " O compassionate she who succored 
me, and courteous thou who didst speedily 
obey the true words that she addressed to thee ! 
Thou by thy words hast so disposed my heart 
with desire of going, that I have returned to 
my first intent. Now go, for one sole will is 
in us both : thou leader, thou lord, and thou 
master." Thus I said to him ; and when he 
moved on, I entered along the deep and savage 


The gate of HelL — Virgil leads Dante in. — The 
punishment of those who had lived without infamy and 
without praise. — Acheron^ and the sinners on its bank. — 
Charon. — Earthquake. — Dante swoons. 

" Through me is the way into the woeful 
city; through me is the way into the eternal 
woe; through me is the way among the lost 
people. Justice moved my lofty maker: the 
divine Power, the supreme Wisdom and the 
primal Love made me. Before me were no 
things created, save eternal, and I eternal last. 
Leave every hope, ye who enter ! " ' 

These words of obscure color I saw written 
at the top of a gate ; whereat I : " Master, their 
meaning is dire to me." 

And he to me, like a person well advised : 
" Here it behoves to leave every fear ; it be- 

I. V. 8. "Creation,'* says St. Thomas Aquinas, "is 
the joint act of the whole Trinity." S. T. i. 45. 6. 
This is indicated in these verses by the enumeration of the 
attributes ascribed respectively to the three persons of the 
Trinity, according to the common teaching of the doctors of 
the Church. Id. i. 39. 8. 

vv. 15-39] CANTO III 17 

hoves that all cowardice should here be dead. 
We have come to the place where I have told 
thee that thou shalt see the woeful people, who 
have lost the good of the understanding." ^ 

And when he had put his hand on mine with 
a cheerful look, wherefrom I took courage, he 
brought me within to the secret things. Here 
sighs, laments, and deep wailings were resound- 
ing through the starless air ; wherefore at first I 
wept thereat. Strange tongues, horrible utter- 
ances, words of woe, accents of anger, voices 
high and faint, and sounds of hands with them, 
were making a tumult which whirls always in 
that air forever dark, like the sand when the 
whirlwind breathes. 

And I, who had my head girt with horror, 
said : *' Master, what is that which I hear ? and 
what folk is it that seems so overcome with its 
woe ? " 

And he to me : " The wretched souls of those 
who lived without infamy and without praise 
maintain this miserable mode. They are min- 
gled with that caitiff choir of the angels, who 
were not rebels, nor were faithful to God, but 
were for themselves. ^ The heavens chased 

2. V. 18. The ultimate end and felicity of human life 
is to see God and the truth in him (S. T. Suppl, xcii. i) ; 
this is the supreme good of the understanding. 

3. V. 39. This class of angels seems to have been an 
invention of the poet's. 

1 8 HELL [vv. 40--65 

them out in order to be not less beautiful, nor 
does the deep Hell receive them, for the 
damned would have some boast of them." 

And I : " Master, what is so grievous to 
them, that makes them lament so bitterly ? " 

He answered : " I will tell thee very briefly. 
These have not hope of death ; and their blind 
life is so debased, that they are envious of every 
other lot. Fame of them the world permits 
not to be; mercy and justice disdain them. 
Let us not speak of them, but do thou look 
and pass on." 

And I, who was gazing, saw a banner, which, 
whirling, ran so swiftly that it seemed to me 
disdainful of any pause, and behind it came so 
long a train of folk, that I should never have 
believed death had undone so many. After I 
had recognized some among them, 1 saw and 
knew the shade of him who made, through 
cowardice, the great refusal. "♦ At once I un- 
derstood and was certain, that this was the sect 
of the caitiffs displeasing to God and to his 
enemies. These wretches, who never were 
alive, were naked, and much stung by gad-flies 

4. V. 60. By him "who made the great refusal** is 
probably intended Pope Celestine V., who, after having held 
the papacy for five months in 1 294, abdicated. His suc- 
cessor, Boniface VIII., Dante*s great enemy, put Celestine 
in prison, where he died in 1296. 

vv. 66-93] CANTO III 19 

and by wasps that were there; these streaked 
their faces with blood, which, mingled with 
tears, was gathered at their feet by loathsome 

And when I gave myself to looking onward, 
I saw people on the bank of a great river; 
wherefore I said : " Master, now grant to me 
that I may know who these are, and what rule 
makes them appear so ready to pass over, as I 
discern through the faint light." And he to 
me : " The things will be clear to thee, when 
we shall stay our steps on the sad shore of 
Acheron." Then with eyes ashamed and down- 
cast, fearing lest my speech might be trouble- 
some to him, far as to the river I refrained 
from speaking. 

And behold ! coming toward us in a boat, an 
old man, white with ancient hair, crying : " Woe 
to you, wicked souls ! hope not ever to see 
the Heavens ! I come to carry you to the other 
bank, into the eternal darkness, into heat and 
into frost. And thou who art there, living 
soul, depart from these that are dead." But 
when he saw that I did not depart, he said : 
" By another way, by other ports thou shalt 
come to the shore, not here, for passage ; a 
lighter bark must carry thee." ^ 

5. V. 93. The boat that bears the souls of the redeemed 
to Purgatory. Charon recognizes that Dante is not among 

20 HELL [vv.94~ii8 

And my Leader to him : " Charon, vex not 
thyself; it is thus willed there where is power 
for that which is willed ; and ask no more." 
Thereon were quiet the fleecy jaws of the ferry- 
man of the livid marsh, who round about his 
eyes had wheels of flame. 

But those souls, who were weary and naked, 
changed color and gnashed their teeth, soon as 
they heard his cruel words. They blasphemed 
God and their parents, the human race, the 
place, the time and the seed of their sowing 
and of their birth. Then, all of them bitterly 
weeping, drew together to the evil bank, which 
awaits every man who fears not God. Charon 
the demon, with eyes of glowing coal, beckoning 
to them, collects them all ; he beats with his 
oar whoever lingers. 

As in autumn the leaves depart one after the 
other, until the bough sees all its spoils upon 
the earth, in like wise the evil seed of Adam 
throw themselves from that shore one by one, 
at signals, as the bird at his recall. Thus they 
go over the dusky wave, and before they have 

the damned. The gods and other personages of heathen 
mythology were held by the Church to have been demons 
who had a real existence ; they were adopted into the Chris- 
tian mythology, and hence appear with entire propriety as 
characters in Hell. Charon and other beings of this order 
were familiar to the readers of the sixth book of the Aeneid, 

vv. 119-136] CANTO III 21 

landed on the farther side, already on this a 
new throng is assembled. 

" My son," said the courteous Master, "those 
who die in the wrath of God, all come together 
here from every land ; and they are eager to pass 
over the stream, for the divine justice spurs 
them so that fear is turned to desire. A good 
soul never passes this way; and therefore if 
Charon fret at thee, well mayest thou now 
know what his speech signifies." 

This ended, the gloomy plain trembled so 
mightily, that the memory of the terror even 
now bathes me with sweat. The tearful land 
gave forth a wind that flashed a crimson light 
which vanquished all sensation in me, and I fell 
as a man whom slumber seizes. 


The further side of Acheron. — Virgil leads Dante 
into Limho^ the First Circle of Hell^ containing the 
spirits of those who lived virtuously but without faith in 
Christ, — Greeting of Virgil by his fellow poets, — They 
enter a castle^ where are the shades of ancient worthies, — 
After seeing them Virgil and Dante depart, 

A HEAVY thunder broke the deep sleep in 
my head, so that I started up like a person who 
is waked by force, and, risen erect, I moved my 
rested eye round about, and looked fixedly to 
distinguish the place where I was. True it is, 
that I found myself on the brink of the woeful 
valley of the abyss which collects a thunder of 
infinite wailings. It was so dark, deep, and 
cloudy, that, though I fixed my sight on the 
depth, I did not discern anything there. 

" Now let us descend here below into the 
blind world," began the Poet all deadly pale, 
" I will be first, and thou shalt be second." 

And I, who had observed his color, said: 
" How shall I come, if thou fearest, who art 
wont to be the comfort to my doubting ? " 
And he to me : " The anguish of the folk who 

vv. 20-42] CANTOIV 23 

are here below paints on my face that pity 
which thou takest for fear. Let us go on, for 
the long way urges us." 

Thus he placed himself/ and thus he made 
me enter into the first circle^ that girds the 
abyss. Here, as one listened, there was no 
lamentation but that of sighs which made the 
eternal air to tremble ; this came of the woe 
without torments felt by the crowds, which were 
many and great, of infants and of women and 
of men. 

The good Master to me : " Thou dost not 
ask what spirits are these that thou seest. Now 
I would have thee know, before thou goest 
farther, that these did not sin; and though they 
have merits it suffices not, because they did 
not have baptism,^ which is part of the faith 
that thou believest; and if they were before 
Christianity, they did not duly worship God: 
and of such as these am I myself. For such 
defects, and not for other guilt, are we lost, and 
only so far harmed that without hope we live 
in desire." 

1. V. 23. In the lead, in front of Dante. 

2. V. 24. The Limbo (Lat. limbus, edge, hem, border). 

3. V. 35. Such merit as they might have could not secure 
salvation for them, for only he who receives baptism becomes 
a member of Christ, and through His merits is freed alike 
from the fault and from the penalty of original sin. 

24 HELL [vv. 43-63 

Great woe seized me at my heart when I 
heard him, because I knew that people of 
much worth were suspended in that limbo. 
"Tell me, my Master, tell me. Lord," I began, 
with wish to be assured of that faith which 
vanquishes every error, "^ " did ever any one 
who afterwards was blessed go forth from here, 
either by his own or by another's merit ? " 
And he, who understood my covert speech, 
answered : " I was new in this state ^ when I 
saw a Mighty One come hither crowned with 
sign of victory. He drew out hence the shade 
of the first parent, of Abel his son, and that of 
Noah, of Moses the law-giver and obedient, 
Abraham the patriarch, and David the King, 
Israel with his father and with his offspring, 
and with Rachel, for whom he did so much, 
and many others ; and He made them blessed : 
and I would have thee know that before these, 
human spirits were not saved." ^ 

4. V. 48. Wishing especially to be assured in regard to 
the descent of Christ into Hell. 

5. V. 52. Virgil died b. c. 19. 

6. V. 62. The sin of Adam infected all his descendants 
with the offence of original sin, and subjected them to its eter- 
nal punishment, from which none could be saved except by- 
faith in Christ. Adam and the fathers of the chosen people 
had held implicitly the faith in Christ to come, but they were 
excluded from the life of glory, until the redemption of the 
human race by the passion of Christ. After his passion he 
descended into Hell, to deliver them. (S. T. iii. 52. 5.) 

vv. 64-93] CANTO IV 25 

We ceased not going on because he spoke, 
but all the while were passing through the 
wood, the wood, I mean, of crowded spirits ; 
nor yet had our way been long from the place 
of my slumber, when I saw a fire, which over- 
came a hemisphere of darkness. ^ We were 
still a little distant from it, yet not so far but 
that I could in part discern that honorable 
folk possessed that place. " O thou who hon- 
orest both science and art, who are these, who 
have such honor that it separates them from 
the manner of the others ? " And he to me : 
" The honorable renown of them which sounds 
above in thy life wins grace in heaven which 
thus advances them." At this a voice was 
heard by me : " Honor the loftiest Poet ! his 
shade returns which had departed." When the 
voice had stopped and was quiet, I saw four 
great shades coming to us ; they had a sem- 
blance neither sad nor glad. The good Master 
began to say : " Look at him with that sword in 
hand who comes before the three, even as lord ; 
he is Homer, the sovereign poet ; the next who 
comes is Horace, the satirist ; Ovid is the third, 
and the last is Lucan. Since each shares with 
me the name which the single voice sounded, 
they do me honor, and in that do well." 

7. V. 69. The fire may be the symbol of the partial light 
afforded by philosophy to the virtuous heathen, whose abode 
the poets are approaching. 

26 HELL [vv. 94-1 1 1 

Thus I saw assembled the fair school of that 
Lord of the loftiest song who soars above the 
others like an eagle. After they had discoursed 
somewhat together, they turned to me with sign 
of salutation ; and my Master smiled thereat. 
And far more of honor yet they did me, for 
they made me of their band, so that I was the 
sixth amid so much wisdom. Thus we went 
on as far as the light, speaking things concern- 
ing which silence is becoming, even as was 
speech there where I was. 

We came to the foot of a noble castle, seven 
times circled by high walls,* defended round 
about by a fair streamlet. This we passed as 
if hard ground ; through seven gates ^ I entered 
with these sages ; we came to a meadow of fresh 

8. V. 107. The castle is the symbol of the abode of 
Philosophy, or human wisdom unenlightened by revelation; 
its seven high walls may perhaps signify the four moral and 
three intellectual virtues, — prudence, temperance, fortitude 
and justice, understanding, knowledge and wisdom, all which 
could be attained by the virtuous heathen, (5. Z'. ii. 65. 2.) 

9. V. no. The seven gates may typify the seven liberal 
arts of the Trivium and the ^adrivium, by which names 
the courses of instruction in them were known in the schools 
of the Middle Ages. The Trivium included Grammar, 
Logic and Rhetoric ; the ^adrivium. Music, Arithmetic, 
Geometry and Astronomy. The following rude mnemonic 
verses set forth their order and meaning : 

Gram, loquitur, Dia. verba docet, Rhe. verba min'istrat ; 
Mas. canit, Ar. numerat, Ge. ponderat, As. colit astra. 

vv. 112-141] CANTO IV 27 

verdure. People were there with slow and 
grave eyes, of great authority in their looks ; 
they spoke seldom, and with soft voices. There- 
on we withdrew ourselves upon one side, into 
an open, luminous, and high place, so that they 
all could be seen. There before me upon the 
green enamel were shown to me the great spirits, 
whom for having seen I inwardly exalt myself. 
I saw Electra with many companions, among 
whom I recognized Hector and Aeneas, Caesar 
in armor, with his gerfalcon eyes ; I saw Camilla 
and Penthesilea, on the other side I saw the 
King Latinus, who was sitting with Lavinia his 
daughter. I saw that Brutus who drove out 
Tarquin ; Lucretia, Julia, Marcia, and Cornelia ; 
and alone, apart, I saw the Saladin. When I 
raised my brows a little more, I saw the Master 
of those who know, '° seated amid the philo- 
sophic family ; all regard him, all do him honor. 
Here I saw Socrates and Plato, who in front of 
the others stand nearest to him ; Democritus, 
who ascribes the world to chance ; Diogenes, 
Anaxagoras, and Thales, Empedocles, Hera- 
clitus, and Zeno ; and I saw the good collector 
of the qualities, Dioscorides, I mean ; " and I 
saw Orpheus, Tully, and Linus, and moral 

10. V. 131. Aristotle. 

11. V. 140. Dioscorides, a physician in Cilicia, of the 
first century a. d., who in his treatise de materia medica wrote 
of the qualities of plants. 

28 HELL [vv. 142-151 

Seneca, Euclid the geometer, and Ptolemy, Hip- 
pocrates, Avicenna, and Galen, and Averrhoes, 
who made the great comment." I cannot re- 
port of all in full, because the long theme so 
drives me that many times the speech comes 
short of the fact. 

The company of six is reduced to two. By 
another way the wise guide leads me out from 
the quiet into the air that trembles, and I 
come into a region where is nothing that can 
give light. 

12. V. 1 44. The great comment on Aristotle. 


The Second Circle^ that of Carnal Sinners. — - Minos, 
— Shades renowned of old, — Francesca da Rimini, 

Thus I descended from the first circle down 
into the second, which girdles less space, and 
so much more woe that it goads to wailing. 
There stands Minos horribly, and snarls; he 
examines the transgressions at the entrance ; he 
judges, and he sends according as he entwines 
himself. I mean, that when the ill born soul 
comes there before him, it confesses itself wholly, 
and that discerner of the sins sees what place of 
Hell is for it ; he girds himself with his tail so 
many times as the grades he wills that it be 
sent down. Always many of them stand before 
him; they go, in turn, each to the judgment; 
they speak and hear, and then are whirled 

" O thou that comest to the woeful inn," 
said Minos to me, when he saw me, leaving 
the act of so great an office, " beware how thou 
enterest, and to whom thou trustest thyself; 
let not the amplitude of the entrance deceive 

30 HELL [vv. 21-47 

thee." And my Leader to him : " Wherefore 
dost thou too cry out ? ' Hinder not his fated 
going ; thus is it willed there where is power 
for that which is willed ; and ask no more." 

Now the notes of woe begin to make them- 
selves heard by me ; now I am come where 
much wailing smites me. I had come into a 
place mute of all light, that bellows as the sea 
does in a tempest, if it be combated by contrary 
winds. The infernal hurricane which never 
rests carries along the spirits with its rapine ; 
whirling and smiting it molests them.^ When 
they arrive before its rush, here are the shrieks, 
the complaint, and the lamentation ; here they 
blaspheme the divine power. I understood 
that to such torment are condemned the carnal 
sinners who subject the reason to the appetite. 
And as their wings bear along the starlings in 
the cold season in a large and full troop, so 
did that blast the evil spirits ; hither, thither, 
down, up it carries them ; no hope ever com- 
forts them, neither of repose, nor of less pain. 

And as the cranes go singing their lays, 
making in air a long line of themselves, so I 

1 . V. 2 1 . As Charon had done. 

2. V. 33. The storm and darkness are symbols of the 
tempest of the passions. ** Wherewithal a man sinneth, by 
the same also shall he be punished." Wisdom of Solomon 
xi. 16. 

vv. 48-69] CANTO V 31 

saw come, uttering wails, shades borne along 
by the aforesaid strife. Wherefore I said : 
" Master, who are these folk whom the black 
air so castigates ? " " The first of those of 
whom thou wishest to have knowledge," said 
he to me then, " was empress of many tongues. 
She was so abandoned to the vice of luxury ' 
that lust she made lici4: in her law, to take 
away the blame into which she had been brought. 
She is Semiramis, of whom it is read that she 
succeeded Ninus and had been his wife ; she 
held the land which the Sultan rules. That 
other is she'* who, for love, slew herself, and 
broke faith to the ashes of Sichaeus ; next is 
Cleopatra, the luxurious. See Helen, for whom 
so long a time of ill revolved ; and see the great 
Achilles, who fought to the end with love.^ See 
Paris, Tristan, — ** and more than a thousand 
shades whom love had parted from our life he 
showed me, and, pointing to them, named to 

3. V. 55. Luxury in the obsolete, Shakespearean sense 
of lasciviousness. 

4. V. 61. Dido. 

5. V. 66. According to the post -Homeric account ot 
the death of Achilles, which was current in the Middle 
Ages, he was slain by Paris in the temple of Apollo in Troy, 
** whither he had been lured by the promise of a meeting 
with Polyxena, the daughter of Priam, with whom he was 

32 HELL [vv. 70-92 

After I had heard my Teacher name the 
dames of eld and the cavaliers, pity overcame 
me, and I was well nigh bewildered. I began : 
" Poet, willingly would I speak with those two 
that go together, and seem to be so light upon 
the wind." ^ And he to me : " Thou shalt see 
when they are nearer to us, and do thou then 
pray them by that love which leads them, and 
they will come." Soon as the wind sways them 
toward us, I lifted my voice : " O wearied 
souls, come to speak with us, if Another ^ deny 
it not." 

As doves, called by desire, with wings open 
and steady, come through the air borne by their 
will to their sweet nest, these issued from the 
troop where Dido is, coming to us through 
the malign air, so strong was the compassionate 

" O living creature, gracious and benign, that 
goest through the black air visiting us who 
stained the world blood-red, if the King of the 
universe were a friend we would pray Him for 

6. V. 75. These two are Francesca da Rimini, daughter 
of Guido Vecchio da Polenta, lord of Ravenna ; and her lover, 
Paolo, the brother of her husband, the son of Malatesta da 
Verrucchio, lord of Rimini. Their death, at the hands of 
her husband, took place about 1285. 

7. V. 8 1 . The name of God is never spoken by the spirits 
in Hell, save once, in blasphemous defiance, by Vanni Fucci 
(xxv. 3) ; nor by Dante in addressing them. 

vv. 93-122] CANTO V 33 

thy peace, since thou hast pity on our perverse 
ill. Of what it pleases thee to hear, and what 
to speak, we will hear and we will speak to 
you, while the wind, as now, is hushed for us. 
The city where I was born sits upon the sea- 
shore, where the Po, with his followers, descends 
to have peace. Love, which quickly lays hold 
on gentle heart, seized this one for the fair 
person that was taken from me, and the mode 
still hurts me. Love, which absolves no loved 
one from loving, seized me for the pleasing of 
him so strongly that, as thou seest, it does not 
even now abandon me. Love brought us to 
one death. Cain awaits him who quenched 
our life." These words were borne to us from 

Soon as I had heard those injured souls I 
bowed my face, and held it down so long until 
the Poet said to me : " What art thou think- 
ing ? " When I replied, I began : " Alas ! how 
many sweet thoughts, how great desire, led 
these unto the woeful pass." Then I turned 
me again to them, and spoke, and began : 
" Francesca, thy torments make me sad and 
piteous to weeping. But tell me, at the time 
of the sweet sighs, by what and how did love 
concede to thee to know thy dubious desires ? " 
And she to me : " There is no greater woe than 
the remembering in misery the happy time, and 

34 HELL [vv. 123-142 

that thy Teacher knows.^ But if thou hast so 
great desire to know the first root of our love, 
I will do like one who weeps and. tells. 

" We were reading one day, for delight, of 
Lancelot, how love constrained him. We were 
alone and without any suspicion. Many times 
that reading urged our eyes, and took the color 
from our faces, but only one point was it that 
overcame us. When we read of the longed-for 
smile being kissed by such a lover, this one, 
who never shall be divided from me, kissed 
my mouth all trembling. Gallehaut was the 
book, and he who wrote it.^ That day we read 
no farther in it." 

While the one spirit said this, the other was 
so weeping that through pity I swooned as if 
I had been dying, and fell as a dead body falls. 

8. V. 123. Thy Teacher who lives sorrowfully in Limbo 
without hope, but with memory of the life lighted by the Sun. 

9. V. 137. In the Romance, it was Gallehaut that pre- 
vailed on Guenever to give a kiss to Lancelot. 


The Third Circle^ that of the Gluttonous, — Cerberus, 
— Ciacco, 

At the return of my mind, which had closed 
itself before the pity of these two kinsfolk, 
that wholly confounded me with sadness, I see 
around me new torments and new tormented 
souls wherever I move, and wherever I turn, 
and wherever I gaze. 

I am in the third circle, that of the eternal, 
accursed, cold, and heavy rain : its rule and 
quality are never new. Coarse hail, and dark 
water, and snow pour down through the tene- 
brous air ; the earth which receives them stinks. 
Cerberus, a cruel and strange beast, with three 
throats barks dogwise above the people that 
are here submerged. He has red eyes, a greasy 
and black beard, and a big belly, and paws 
armed with nails : he claws the spirits, bites, 
and rends them. The rain makes them howl 
like dogs ; of one of their sides they make a 
screen for the other; the wretched profane 
ones ' often turn themselves. 

I. V. 21. Profane, because ** their God is their belly." 
Philippians iii. 19. 

36 HELL [vv. 22-51 

When Cerberus, the great worm, observed 
us, he opened his mouths, and showed his 
fangs to us ; not a iimb had he that he held still. 
And my Leader opened wide his hands, took 
some earth, and with full fists threw it into his 
ravenous gullets. As is the dog that baying 
craves, and becomes quiet when he bites his 
food, and is intent and struggles only to devour 
it, such became those filthy faces of the demon 
Cerberus, who so thunders at the souls that 
they would fain be deaf 

We were passing over the shades whom the 
heavy rain subdues, and were setting our feet 
upon their vain show which seems a body. 
They all of them were lying on the ground, 
except one which raised itself to sit, soon as it 
saw us passing in front. " O thou who art led 
through this Hell," it said to me, " recognize 
me, if thou canst; thou wast made before I 
was unmade." And I to it : " The anguish 
which thou hast, perchance withdraws thee from 
my memory, so that it seems not that I ever 
saw thee. But tell me who thou art, that art 
set in a place so woeful, and with such a pun- 
ishment, that if any other be greater, none is so 
displeasing." And he to me : "Thy city which 
is so full of envy that already the sack runs 
over, held me in it, in the bright life.^ You, 

2. V. 51. The life lighted by the sun ; in contrast to this 
dark and dismal region of Hell. 

vv. 52-74] CANTO VI 37 

citizens, called me Ciacco ; ^ for the pernicious 
fault of gluttony, as thou seest, I am broken by 
the rain : and I, wretched soul, am not alone, for 
all these endure like punishment for like fault : " 
and he spoke not a word more. I answered 
him : " Ciacco, thy distress so weighs upon me, 
that it invites me to weeping ; but tell me, if 
thou knowest, to what will come the citizens of 
the divided city ; if any one in it is just ; and 
tell me the cause why such great discord has 
assailed it." 

And he to me : " After long contention they 
will come to blood, and the sylvan party will 
chase out the other with much injury. Then 
afterwards within three suns^ it behoves that 
this shall fall, and the other surmount by means 
of the force of a certain one who just now is 
tacking. It will hold high its front long time, 
keeping the other under heavy weights, how- 
ever it may lament and be shamed thereat. 
There are two just men, but they are not 
heeded there ; Pride, Envy, and Avarice are 

3. V. 52. Ciacco, an abbreviation of Jacopo, seems, in 
popular speech, to have been the term for hog. This Ciacco 
figures characteristically in one of the tales of the Decameron, 
(ix. 8), along with Filippo Argenti, whom we find in the 
fifth circle, and with Corso Donati, referred to in the twenty- 
fourth canto of the Purgatory, 

4. V. 68. "Three suns," that is, three years. 

38 HELL [vv. 75-90 

the three sparks that have inflamed their 
hearts." ^ Here he made ending of the grievous 

And I to him : " I would that thou instruct 
me further, and that of more speech thou make 
a gift to me. Farinata and Tegghiaio who were 
so worthy, Jacopo Rusticucci, Arrigo, and 
Mosca, and the others who set their minds 
on well-doing, tell me where they are, and 
make me to know of them, for great desire 
urges me to learn if Heaven sweeten them, or 
Hell envenom them." 

And he : " They are among the blacker 
souls : diflPerent sin weighs them down toward 
the bottom ; if thou descend so far, thou mayst 
see them. But when thou shalt be in the 
sweet world I pray thee that thou bring me to 
the memory of others : more I say not to thee, 

5. V. 75. This prophecy relates to the dissensions and 
violence of the parties of the Whites and the Blacks by which 
Florence was rent. The ''sylvan party" was that of the 
Whites, who were mainly Ghibellines. The significance of 
the term selvaggia " sylvan*' is uncertain; it may mean 
' savage ' or simply < rustic' By the " one who just now is 
tacking " Dante probably refers to the Pope, Boniface VIII., 
who was playing fast and loose with both. Who the **two 
just men" were is unknown. The words were grievous to 
Darute not only because of their prophecy of ill to Florence, 
but because in the overthrow of the Whites his own fortunes 
were involved. 

vv. 90-112] CANTO VI 39 

and more I answer thee not." Thereon he 
twisted his straight eyes awry, looked at me a 
little, and then bent his head, and fell with it 
level with the other blind. 

And the Leader said to me: " He rouses up 
no more on this side the sound of the angelic 
trump. When the hostile Power shall come, 
each one will find again his dismal tomb, will 
resume his flesh and his shape, will hear that 
which through eternity reverberates." 

Thus we passed along with slow steps through 
the foul mixture of the shades and of the rain, 
touching a little on the future life ; wherefore I 
said : " Master, these torments will they increase 
after the great Sentence, or be less, or will they 
be just as burning? " And he to me : " Return 
to thy science,^ which declares that in propor- 
tion the thing is more perfect the more it feels 
the good, and so the pain. Though this ac- 
cursed folk never can attain to true perfection, 
it expects thereafter to be more than now." 

We took a circling course along that road, 

6. V. 106. The teaching of Aristotle ; see Ethics, x. 4, 
where the philosopher says that the exercise of every sense is 
attended with pleasure, and the pleasure is the greater in 
proportion to the completeness of the faculty. It seems a 
correct inference that the same is the case with pain. After 
the Last Judgment, when the body is reunited with the soul, 
and the spirit becomes thus complete, the suffering of the 
damned will be greater than before. 

40 HELL [vv. 113-115 

speaking far more than I repeat ; and came to 
the point where the descent is. Here we found 
Pluto/ the great enemy. 

7. V. 115. Pluto and Plutus were not always clearly- 
discriminated even by the ancients, and Pluto in Italian may 
be correctly rendered by one or the other name. Either is 
appropriate here, if Pluto be taken not as Hades, the god of 
the lower world, but in his character as the giver of wealth. 


The Fourth Circle^ that of the Avaricious and the 
Prodigal, — Pluto, — Fortune. 

The Styx, — The Fifth Circle^ that of the Wrathful, 

^^Pape Satariypape Satan aleppe" hega.n Pluto 
with his clucking voice. And that gentle Sage, 
who knew everything, said to comfort me: "Let 
not thy fear hurt thee ; for, whatever power he 
have, he shall not take from thee the descent of 
this rock." Then he turned to that swollen lip 
and said : "Be silent, accursed wolf! ' consume 
thyself inwardly with thine own rage : not with- 
out cause is this going to the depth ; it is willed 
on high, there where Michael wrought the ven- 
geance for the proud rape.'* ^ As sails swollen 
by the wind fall in a heap when the mast 
snaps, so fell to earth the cruel wild-beast. 

Thus we descended into the fourth hollow, 
taking more of the woeful bank which insacks 
the evil of the whole universe. Ah, justice of 

1. V. 8. The wolf is the symbol of avarice, here as else- 
where in the poem ; see canto i. and compare Purgatory, 

XX. lO. 

2. V. 1 2. The violence of Lucifer against God, v^rhich 
had its root in his pride. 

42 HELL [vv. 19-46 

God ! who heaps up so many new travails and 
penalties as I saw ? And why does our guilt 
so ruin us ? As does the wave, yonder upon 
Charybdis, which is broken on that which it 
encounters, so needs must here the people 

Here I saw many more people than else- 
where, both on the one side and the other, 
with great howls rolling weights by force of 
chest. They struck against each other, and 
then there each wheeled round, rolling back, 
crying : " Why boldest thou ? " and " Why 
flingest thou away ? " Thus they turned 
through the dark circle on either hand to the 
opposite point, still crying out at each other 
their opprobrious measure ; then each wheeled 
round, when he had come through his half 
circle to the other joust. 

And I, who had my heart as it were pierced 
through, said : " My Master, now declare to 
me what folk this is, and if all these tonsured 
ones on our left were clerks." 

And he to me : " Each and all of these were 
so asquint in mind in the first life that they 
made no spending in it with due measure. 
Clearly enough their voice bays it forth, when 
they come to the two points of the circle where 
the contrary fault divides them. These were 
clerks who have no hairy covering on their 

vv. 47-74] CANTO VII 43 

heads, and Popes and Cardinals, in whom ava- 
rice practices its excess." 

And I : " Master, among such as these I 
ought surely to recognize some who were pol- 
luted with these evils." 

And he to me : " Thou harborest a vain 
thought ; the undiscerning life that made them 
foul now makes them dim to all discernment. 
Forever will they come to the two buttings ; 
these will rise from the sepulchre with closed 
fist, and these with shorn hair. Ill-giving and 
ill-keeping have taken from them the beautiful 
world, and set them to this scuffle ; what that 
is, I adorn not words for it. Now, son, thou 
canst see the brief jest of the goods that are 
committed to Fortune, for which the human 
race struggle with each other ; for all the gold 
that is beneath the moon, or that ever was, 
could not of these weary souls make a single 
one repose." 

" Master," said I to him, " now tell me fur- 
ther, this Fortune, on which thou touchest to 
me, what is it, which has the goods of the world 
so in its clutches ? " 

And he to me : " O foolish creatures, how 
great is that ignorance which harms you ! I 
would have thee now receive my opinion con- 
cerning her. He whose wisdom transcends all, 
made the heavens, and gave them their guides, 

44 HELL [vv. 75-103 

so that every part shines on every part, dis- 
tributing equally the light. In like wise for the 
splendors of the world. He ordained a general 
ministress and guide, who should from time to 
time transfer the vain goods from race to race, 
and from one blood to another, beyond the 
resistance of human wit. Wherefore one race 
rules, and another languishes, pursuant to her 
judgment, which is hidden like the snake in 
the grass. Your wisdom has no withstanding 
of her : she foresees, judges, and pursues her 
reign, as theirs the other gods. Her permuta- 
tions have no truce ; necessity compels her to 
be swift, so often comes he who obtains a turn. 
This is she who is so set upon the cross, even 
by those who ought to give her praise, giving 
her blame amiss and ill report. But she is 
blessed and hears this not : with the other 
Primal Creatures glad she turns her sphere, and 
blessed she rejoices. Now let us descend at 
once to greater woe : already every star is sink- 
ing that was rising when I set out, and too long 
stay is forbidden." 

We crossed the circle to the other bank, 
above a fount that bubbles up and pours out 
through a trench which proceeds from it. The 
water was far darker than perse ; ^ and we, in 

3. V. 103. «' Perse is a color mixed of purple and black, 
in which the black predominates." Convito, iv. 20, 14. 

vv. 104-130] CANTO VII 45 

company with the dusky waves, entered down 
through a strange way. This dismal little 
stream, when it has descended to the foot of 
the malign gray slopes, makes a marsh that is 
named Styx. And I, who was standing intent 
to gaze, saw muddy people in that swamp, all 
naked and with look of hurt. They were 
smiting each other, not with hand only, but 
with the head, with the chest, and with the feet, 
mangling one another piecemeal with their teeth. 

The good Master said : " Son, now thou 
seest the souls of those whom anger overcame ; 
and also I will that thou believe for certain 
that under the water are folk who sigh, and 
make this water bubble at the surface, as thine 
eye tells thee wherever it turns. Fixed in the 
slime, they say : ' Sullen were we in the sweet 
air that is gladdened by the Sun, bearing within 
ourselves the sluggish fume ; now we are sullen 
in the black mire.' This hymn they gurgle in 
their throats, for they cannot speak with entire 
words.*' ^ 

Thus we circled a great arc of the foul fen, 
between the dry bank and the slough, with 
eyes turned on those who guzzle the mire. 
We came at length to the foot of a tower. 

4. V. 1 26. The sinners fixed under the water in the mud 
would seem to be those whose anger was suppressed, showing 
itself not in acts of wrath, but in sullen and resentful gloom. 


The Fifth Circle. — Phlegyas and his boat, — Passage 
of the Styx, — Filippo Argenti. — The City of Dis, — 
The demons refuse entrance to the poets, 

I SAY, continuing, that, long before we were 
at the foot of the high tower, our eyes went 
upward to its top by reason of two flamelets 
that we saw set there, while another was giving 
signal back from so far off that the eye could 
hardly catch it. And I turned me to the Sea 
of all wisdom ; I said : " This one, what says 
it ? and what answers that other fire ? and who 
are they that made it ? " And he to me : 
" Upon the turbid waves already thou mayst 
discern that which is expected, if the fume of 
the marsh hide it not from thee." 

Bowstring never urged arrow from itself that 
ran so swift a course through the air, as a little 
vessel which at that instant I saw coming 
through the water toward us, under the guid- 
ance of a single boatman, who cried out: "Now 
art thou arrived, fell soul ? " 

" Phlegyas,' Phlegyas, this time thou criest 

I . V. 19. Phlegyas, a king of the Lapithae, enraged with 

vv. 19-44] CANTO VIII 47 

out in vain," said my Lord, "thou shalt not 
have us longer than only while crossing the 
slough." As one who listens to some great 
deception that has been practiced on him, and 
then repines thereat, such became Phlegyas in 
his gathered anger. 

My Leader' descended into the bark and 
then he made me enter after him, and only 
when I was in did it seem laden. Soon as my 
Leader and I were in the boat, the antique 
prow goes its way, cutting more of the water 
than it is wont with others. 

While we were running through the dead 
channel, one full of mud set himself before 
me, and said : " Who art thou that comest be- 
fore thine hour ? " And I to him : " If I come, 
I do not stay ; but who art thou that art be- 
come so foul ? " He answered : " Thou seest 
that I am one who laments." And I to him, 
"With lamenting and with sorrow, accursed 
spirit, do thou remain, for I know thee, though 
thou be all filthy." Then he stretched to the 
boat both his hands, whereat the wary Master 
thrust him back, saying: "Away there, with the 
other dogs ! " Then he clasped my neck with 
his arms, kissed my face, and said: " Indignant 

Apollo for the violation of his daughter, set fire to the temple, 
at Delphi, of the God, who slew him with his arrows. He 
finds his appropriate place here as the type of impious wrath. 

48 HELL [vv. 45-69 

soul, blessed be she who bore thee ! ^ That 
was an arrogant person in the world; no good- 
ness is there that adorns his memory ; so is his 
shade furious here. How many now up there 
are held great kings who shall lie here like 
swine in mire, leaving of themselves horrible 
dispraises ! " And I : " Master, I should 
much like to see him soused in this broth be- 
fore we depart from the lake." And he to 
me : " Before the shore lets itself be seen by 
thee thou shalt be satisfied; it is fitting that 
thou enjoy such a desire." A little after this 
I saw such rending of him by the muddy folk 
that I still praise God therefor, and thank Him 
for it. All cried : "At Filippo Argenti ! " and 
the raging Florentine spirit turned upon him- 
self with his teeth. Here we left him ; so that 
I tell no more of him. 

But on my ears a wailing smote, whereat for- 
ward intent I unbar my eye. And the good 
Master said : " Now, son, the city draws near 
that is named Dis,^ with its heavy citizens, with 

2. V. 45. Virgil commends Dante's feeling toward the 
sinner, because it was roused by righteous indignation at 
Filippo Argenti for the misery wrought by his deeds of 
cruelty. Its root was compassion for the innocent sufferers 
from his mad rages. 

3. V. 68. Dis was a name used by the Romans for the 
god of the Infernal regions. Dante in giving the name to the 
city may have had in mind the verse of Virgil, '* Night and 

vv. 70-87] CANTO VIII 49 

its great throng." And I : " Master, already 
in the valley therewithin I clearly discern its 
mosques vermilion, as if they were issuing 
from fire." And he said to me : " The eter- 
nal fire that blazes there within displays them 
red as thou seest in this nether Hell." 

We at last arrived within the deep ditches 
which encompass that disconsolate city. The 
walls seemed to me to be of iron. Not with- 
out first making a great circuit did we come 
to a place where the boatman loudly shouted to 
us : " Get ye out, here is the entrance." 

Upon the gates I saw more than a thousand 
of those rained down from heaven ^ who angrily 
were saying : " Who is this, that without death 
goes through the realm of the dead folk ? " 
And my wise Master made a sign of wishing 
to speak secretly with them.^ Then they shut 

day the gate of dark Dis stands open" (^Aeneid,w\, 127), 
understanding Dis to mean the region and not the god. 

The walls of Dis close in the sinners of the lower Hell, 
whose sins were not those of passion or appetite, but of per- 
manent e\dl dispositions. 

4. V. 83. The fallen angels now become devils ; and 
here, for the first time, is resistance offered to the Divine will 
by virtue of which Dante is making his journey through Hell. 

5. V. 87. To use the arguments of reason with them, 
which prove unavailing because of the continuance in their 
disposition. of that pride which had been the occasion of their 

50 HELL [vv. 88-112 

in a little their great scorn, and said : " Come 
thou alone, and let him be gone who so boldly 
entered on this realm. Alone let him return 
on the mad path : let him try if he can ; for 
thou, who hast escorted him through so dark 
a region, shalt remain here." ^ 

Think, Reader, if I was discomforted at the 
sound of the accursed words, for I did not 
believe ever to return hither.^ 

" O my dear Leader, who more than seven 
times hast restored to me security, and drawn 
me from deep peril that stood confronting me, 
leave me not," said I, " thus undone ; and, if 
the passing farther onward be denied us, let us 
together quickly retrace our steps." And that 
Lord who had led me thither said to me: 
" Fear not, for no one can take from us our 
passage, by Such an one is it given to us. But 
here await me, and comfort thy dejected spirit 
and feed on good hope, for I will not leave 
thee in the nether world." 

So the sweet Father goes away, and here 
abandons me, and I remain in suspense ; and 
yes and no contend within my head. I could 
not hear what he proffered to them, but he 

6. V. 92. The demons are confident that human reason 
can be baffled and perverted by the resources of that pride 
of intellect which had been the cause of their own sin. 

7. V. 96. To this world. 

vv. 113-130] CANTO VIII 51 

had not staid there with them long, when vying 
with each other they ran back within. These 
our adversaries closed the gates on the breast 
of my Lord, who remained without, and turned 
back to me with slow steps. He had his eyes 
upon the ground, and his brows were shorn of 
all hardihood, and he was saying with sighs : 
" Who has denied to me the houses of woe ? " 
And he said to me : " Because I am wroth, be 
not thou dismayed, for I shall win the contest, 
whoever circle round within for the defence. 
This their insolence is not new, for of old they 
used it at a less secret gate, which still is found 
without a bolt.* Above it thou didst see the 
dead inscription ; and already, on this side of 
it, is descending the steep, passing without 
escort through the circles. One such that by 
him the city shall be opened to us." 

8. V. 1 26. A like resistance had been offered to Christ 
on his descent to Hell. 


The City of Dls. — Erichtho. —' The Three Furies, — 
The Heavenly Messenger, ■ — The Sixth Circle : that of 
the Heresiarchs, 

That color which cowardice painted out- 
wardly on me when I saw my Guide turn back, 
repressed more speedily his own new color.' 
He stopped attentive, like a man that listens, 
for the eye could not lead him far through the 
black air, and through the dense fog. 

"Yet it shall be for us to win the fight," 
began he, " unless — Such an one offered 
herself to us.* Oh how long it is to me till 
Another arrive here ! " ^ 

I saw well how he covered up the beginning 
with the rest that came after, which were words 
different from the first ; but nevertheless his 
speech gave me fear, because I drew his broken 

1. V. 3. The pallor of Dante checked the flush on the 
face of Virgil. 

2. V. 8, Beatrice. 

3. V. 9. The messenger from Heaven, referred to in 
the last verses of the last canto. Dante more than once uses 
the indefinite ** Another '* for an unnamed superior power. 

vv. 15-34] CANTO IX 53 

phrase perchance to a worse meaning than it 

" Into this depth of the dismal shell does 
any one ever descend from the first grade who 
has for penalty only hope cut ofF?"^ This 
question I put, and he answered me : " Seldom 
it happens that any one of us makes the jour- 
ney on which I am going. It is true that an- 
other time I was down here, conjured by that 
cruel Erichtho ^ who was wont to call back 
shades into their bodies. Short while had my 
flesh been bare of me, when she made me enter 
within that wall, in order to draw thence a 
spirit of the circle of Judas. That is the low- 
est place, and the darkest, and the farthest 
from the Heaven which encircles all. I know 
the road well ; therefore assure thyself. This 
marsh which breathes out the great stench girds 
round the woeful city wherein now we cannot 
enter without anger." 

And more he said, but I have it not in mind, 

4. V. 18. Dante asks for assurance that Virgil, whose 
station is in Limbo, " the first grade,** knows the way. In 
Limbo the spirits are " only so far harmed that without 
hope they live in desire." See Canto iv. 41. 

5. V. 23. Erichtho, a sorceress of Thessaly, of whom 
Lucan relates {^Pharsaliay vi. 506 sqq.) that, at the desire of 
Sextus, the son of Pompey, on the night before the battle 
of Pharsalia, she conjured up one of his dead soldiers to fore- 
tell of its issue. 

54 HELL [vv. 35-54 

because my eye had wholly attracted me toward 
the high tower with the ruddy summit, where 
in an instant were uprisen suddenly three in- 
fernal Furies/ stained with blood, who had the 
limbs of women and their action, and were girt 
with greenest hydras. They had for hair little 
serpents and cerastes,^ wherewith their savage 
brows were bound. 

And he, who well recognized the handmaids 
of the queen ^ of the eternal lamentation, said 
to me : " Behold the fell Erinnyes ; this is 
Megaera on the left side, she who wails on the 
right is Alecto, Tisiphone is in the middle:" 
and therewith he was silent. 

With her nails each was tearing her breast ; 
they were beating themselves with their hands, 
and crying out so loud that I pressed close to 
the Poet through dread. " Let Medusa come, 
so we will make him of stone," they all said, 
looking downward ; " ill was it we avenged not 
on Theseus his assault." ^ 

6. V. 38. The Furies seem to typify the self-tormenting 
malignant passions of the understanding perverted by pride 
and self-will. 

7. V. 41. Horned snakes. See Paradise Lost, x. 525. 

8. V. 44. Proserpine. 

9. V. 53. Theseus, failing in his attempt to rescue Per- 
sephone, was kept in the lower world till he was delivered 
by Hercules. His release had been in defiance of the power 
of Hades. 

vv. 55-73] CANTO IX 55 

" Turn thee round backwards, and keep 
thy sight closed, for if the Gorgon show her- 
self, and thou shouldst see her, no return up- 
ward would there ever be." '° Thus said the 
Master, and he himself turned me, and trusted 
not to my hands but with his own he also 
blinded me. 

O ye who have sound understandings, re- 
gard the doctrine that is hidden under the veil 
of the strange verses ! 

And already across the turbid waves was 
coming a crash of a sound full of terror, at 
which both the shores trembled. Not other- 
wise it was than of a wind, impetuous by reason 
of the opposing heats, which strikes the forest, 
and without any stay shatters the branches, 
beats down and carries them away ; forward, 
laden with dust, it goes superb, and makes the 
wild beasts and the shepherds fly. 

My eyes he loosed, and said, " Now direct 

10. V. 57. Medusa, who should turn Dante to stone, 
that is, should harden his heart to the influences of the Divine 
grace, may be the type of the sin of Desperatio, despair 
of the mercy of God, which is not, says St. Thomas, the 
gravest of sins, but the most dangerous. He cites the saying 
of Isidore, " To despair is to descend into hell." S. T. ii^. 
20, 3. Virgil's declaration that "no return upward would 
there ever be,'* is illustrated by the words of St. Gregory, 
who affirms that by Desperatio, "via jam reversionis abscin- 
ditur," " the way of return is cut off." Moralia, viii. 52, 

56 HELL [vv. 74-101 

the nerve of sight across that ancient scum, 
there yonder where that fume is most bitter." 

As the frogs before the hostile snake all 
vanish through the water, till each huddles on 
the ground, I saw more than a thousand de- 
stroyed souls flying thus before One, who on 
foot was passing over the Styx with soles 
unwet. From his face he was removing that 
thick air, waving his left hand oft before him, 
and only with that trouble he seemed weary. 
Well I perceived that he was a messenger from 
Heaven, and I turned me to the Master, and 
he made sign that I should stand quiet and 
bow down to him. Ah, how full of disdain he 
seemed to me ! He came to the gate and with 
a little rod he opened it, for it had no resistance. 

" O outcasts from Heaven ! folk despised," 
began he upon the horrible threshold, " whence 
is this overweening harbored in you ? Where- 
fore do ye kick against that Will from which 
its end can never be cut short, and which many 
a time has increased your woe ? What avails 
it to butt against the fates ? Your Cerberus, if 
ye remember well, still bears his chin and his 
throat peeled therefor." " Then he turned 
back over the filthy road, and said no word to 

II. V. 99. Because of his resistance to Hercules when 
dragged in chains by him from the kingdom of Hades. See 
Jen e id, vi. 395-6. 

vv. 101-126] CANTO IX 57 

us, but wore the semblance of a man whom 
other care constrains and stings, than that of 
him who is before him. 

Then we moved our feet toward the city, 
secure after his holy words. We entered there 
within without any strife : and I, who had desire 
to observe the condition which such a strong- 
hold locks in, soon as I was within, send my eye 
round about, and I see on every hand a great 
plain full of woe and of cruel torment. 

As at Aries, where the Rhone stagnates, as 
at Pola, near the Quarnaro which shuts Italy in 
and bathes her borders, the sepulchres make all 
the place uneven " ; so did they here on every 
side, save that the manner was more bitter 
here ; for among the tombs flames were scat- 
tered, by which they were so wholly heated that 
no art requires iron more so. All their lids 
were lifted ; and such dire laments were issuing 
forth from them as truly seemed of wretches 
and of sufferers. 

And I : " Master, who are these folk that, 
buried within those coffers, make themselves 
heard with their woeful sighs ? " And he to 

12. V. 1 1 5. The cemetery at Aries with its great tombs 
of stone was a famous burial-ground from Roman days on- 
ward through the Middle Ages, Though now desecrated the 
ground still is uneven with the ancient graves. The tombs 
at Pola have disappeared. 

58 HELL [vv. 127-133 

me : " Here are the heresiarchs with their fol- 
lowers of every sect, and the tombs are much 
more laden than thou thinkest. Like with like 
is buried here, and the monuments are more 
and less hot." 

And after he had turned to the right hand,'^ 
we passed between the torments and the high 

13. V. 132. The general course of the poets in their 
descent through Hell is to the left, the sinister hand, symboliz- 
ing the evil direction of the course of the sinner. Here, and 
in one other instance (xvii. 31), they turn for a short distance 
to the right. The significance of these turns to the right is 
obscure, and no satisfactory solution of it has been proposed. 


The Sixth Circle : Heresiarchs. — Farinata degli 
Uberti, — Cavalcante Cavalcanti, — Frederick IL 

Now, along a solitary path between the wall 
of the city and the torments, my Master goes 
on, and I behind his shoulders. 

'' O virtue supreme," I began, " that through 
the impious circles dost turn me according to 
thy pleasure, speak to me and satisfy my desires. 
The folk that are lying in the sepulchres, might 
they be seen ? all the lids are now lifted, and 
no one keeps guard." And he to me : " All 
will be locked in when they shall return here 
from Jehoshaphat with the bodies which they 
have left on earth.* Upon this side Epicurus 
with all his followers, who make the soul mor- 
tal with the body, have their burial place. 

I. V. 12. The locality of the Last Judgment, when the 
bodies of the dead were to be reunited with their souls, was 
assumed to be the valley of Jehoshaphat, according to the 
words of Joel, iii. 2, 1 2 : "I will also gather all nations, 
and will bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and 
will plead with them there ... for there will I sit to 

6o HELL [vv. 16-35 

Therefore as to the request that thou makest 
of me, thou shalt soon be satisfied here within ; 
and also as to the desire of which thou art 
silent to me." * And I : " Good Leader, I hold 
not my heart hidden from thee except in order 
to speak little ; and not only now hast thou 
disposed me to this." ^ 

" O Tuscan, who goest thy way alive 
through the city of fire, speaking thus mod- 
estly, may it please thee to stop in this place. 
Thy mode of speech makes manifest that thou 
art native of that noble fatherland to which per- 
chance I was too molestful." Suddenly this 
sound issued from one of the coffers, wherefore 
in fear I drew a little nearer to my Leader. 
And he said to me : " Turn thee : what art 
thou doing ? See there Farinata who has risen 
erect ; all from the girdle upwards wilt thou 
see him." '* 

I had already fixed my face on his, and he 
was straightening himself up with breast and 

2. V. 1 8. Probably the wish to see Farinata, concern- 
ing whom Dante had questioned Ciacco (Canto vi. 79). 

3. V. 21. These words may refer to Dante's supposi- 
tion that his question to Virgil as they were approaching 
Acheron had been irksome to the poet (Canto iii. 79-80). 

4. V. 33. Farinata degli Uberti was the head of the 
Ghibelline party in Tuscany for many years, about the middle 
of the thirteenth century. He was a man of valor and of 
wise counsel. He died not far from the time of Dante's birth. 

vv. 36-59] CANTO X 61 

front as though he had Hell in great scorn. 
And the bold and ready hands of my Leader 
pushed me among the sepulchres to him, say- 
ing : " Let thy words be clear." 

When I was at the foot of his tomb, he 
looked at me a little, and then, as though dis- 
dainful, asked me, " Who were thy ancestors ? " 
I, who was desirous to obey, concealed it not 
from him, but disclosed it all to him ; whereon 
he raised up his brows a little, then said : 
" They were fiercely adverse to me and to my 
forefathers and to my party, so that at two 
times I scattered them." ^ "If they were 
driven out, they returned from every side," 
replied I to him, " both the one and the other 
time, but yours have not learned well that 

Then there arose to sight alongside of this 
one, a shade uncovered far as to the chin : I 
think that it had risen on its knees. It looked 
round about me, as if it had desire to see if 
another were with me, but when its expectancy 
was quite spent, weeping it said : " If through 
this blind prison thou goest by reason of lofti- 

5. V. 48. Dante's ancestors were Guelfs ; Farinata had 
dispersed the Guelfs in 1 248 and i 260. 

6. V. 5 1 . The Guelfs had returned to Florence in i 2 5 1 
and I 266, and regaining power had finally expelled the Ghi- 
bellines permanently. 

62 HELL [vv. 60-80 

ness of genius, where is my son ? and why is he 
not with thee ? " And I to him : " I come not 
of myself; he who waits yonder is leading me 
through here, whom perchance your Guido had 
in disdain." ^ 

His words and the mode of the punishment 
had already read to me the name of this one ; 
wherefore my answer was so full. 

Suddenly straightening up, he cried : "How 
didst thou say, ' he had ' ? lives he not still ? 
does not the sweet light strike his eyes ? " 
When he became aware of some delay that I 
made before answering, he fell again supine, 
and appeared no more outside. 

But that other magnanimous one, at whose 
instance I had stayed, changed not aspect, nor 
moved his neck, nor bent his side. " And if," 
he said, continuing his first discourse, "they 
have ill learned that art, it torments me more 
than this bed. But the face of the Lady who 
rules here ^ will not be rekindled fifty times ere 

7. V. 63. Guido Cavalcanti, Dante's first friend (see 
The New Life, § 3), was charged with the same sin of 
unbelief as his father. Dante regards this as a sin specially- 
contrary to right reason, typified by Virgil. In 1 266-7, 
when an attempt was made to reconcile the Guelf and Ghi- 
belline parties in Florence, the daughter of Farinata was be- 
trothed to Guido Cavalcanti, and they were subsequently 

8. V. 80. Proserpine, identified with the mystical He- 
cate, and hence with the Moon. 

vv. 81-106] CANTO X 63 

thou shalt know how much that art weighs. 
And, so mayest thou return to the sweet world, 
tell me wherefore is that people so pitiless 
against my party in its every law ? " Thereon I 
to him : " The rout and the great carnage which 
colored the Arbia red cause such prayer to be 
made in our temple." After he had, sighing, 
shaken his head, "In that I was not alone," he 
said, " nor surely without cause would I have 
moved with the others ; but I was alone there,^ 
where it was agreed by every one to destroy 
Florence, he who defended her with open face." 
" Ah ! so may your seed ever have repose," I 
prayed to him, " loose for me that knot, which 
has here entangled my judgment. It seems, if 
I hear rightly, that ye see in advance that which 
time is bringing with it, and as to the present 
have another way." '° " We see," he said, " like 
him who has bad light, the things that are far 
from us, so much the supreme Ruler still shines 
on us ; when they draw near, or are, our intelli- 
gence is wholly vain, and, if another report 
not to us, we know nothing of your human 
state ; wherefore thou canst comprehend that 

9. V. 9 1 . At Empoli, in i 260, after the terrible rout 
of the Florentine Guelfs at Montaperti on the Arbia. 

10. V. 99. That is, are ignorant of the present. Ciacco 
and Farinata have foretold fiiture events, but Cavalcante has 
shown himself ignorant of present conditions. 

64 HELL [vv. 107-120 

our knowledge will be utterly dead from that 
moment when the gate of the future shall be 
closed." " Then, as compunctious for my 
fault, I said : " Now, then, you " will tell to that 
fallen one that his son is still conjoined with 
the living, and if just now I was dumb to an- 
swer, make him know that I was so because I 
was already thinking in the error which you 
have solved for me." '^ 

And now my Master was recalling me, where- 
fore more hastily I prayed the spirit that he 
would tell me who was with him. He said to 
me : " Here I lie with more than a thousand ; 
here within is the second Frederick '^ and the 
Cardinal,'^ and of the others I am silent." 

11. V. 108. After the Last Judgment, the end of earth 
and of time. 

12. V. 1 10. The use of the plural you is to be noted as 
indicating the respect in which Dante held Farinata, as the 
*' your Guido " in verse 63 shows a similar feeling toward 
Cavalcante. The only other person in Hell whom he treats 
with similar honor is Brunetto Latini, in Canto xv. 

13. V. 114. Guido Cavalcanti died in August, 1300; 
his death was an event too near at hand at the time of Dante's 
journey to be known to his father, who, probably, had him- 
self died but recently. 

14. V. 119. The famous Frederick II., "stupor 
mandi," Emperor from 121 2 to 1250 ; "he led an epicu- 
rean life,'* says Villani, "never making account that there 
would be another life." Cronica,\\. i. 

15. V. 120. Ottaviano degli Ubaldini, a fierce Ghibel- 

vv. 121-136] CANTO X 65 

Thereon he hid himself; and I turned my 
steps toward the ancient Poet, reflecting on 
that speech which seemed hostile to me. He 
moved on, and then, thus going, he said to me : 
" Why art thou so disturbed ? " And I satis- 
fied him as to his question. " Let thy memory 
preserve that which thou hast heard against 
thyself," that Sage bade me, " and now give 
heed here — '' and he raised his finger: "When 
thou shalt be in presence of the sweet radiance 
of her whose beautiful eye sees everything, 
from her thou shalt learn the journey of thy 
life." Then to the left he turned his step. 

We left the wall, and went toward the middle 
by a path that strikes into a valley which even 
up there was making its stench displeasing. 

line, who was reported as saying, "If there be a soul I have 
lost it for the Ghibellines. " He died in 1273. 


The Sixth Circle : Heretics, — Tomb of Pope Anas- 
tasius, — Discourse of Virgil on the divisions of the lower 

Upon the edge of a high bank which great 
rocks broken in a circle made, we came above 
a more cruel pen. And here, because of the 
horrible excess of the stench which the deep 
abyss throws out, we drew aside behind the lid 
of a great tomb, whereon I saw an inscription 
which said : " I hold Pope Anastasius, whom 
Photinus drew from the right way." ' 

" It behoves that our descent be slow, so that 
the sense may first accustom itself a little to 
the dismal blast, and then it will be of no con- 
cern." Thus the Master, and I said to him : 
" Some compensation do thou find that the 
time pass not lost." And he : " Behold, I am 
thinking of that. My son, within these 
rocks," he began then to say, " are three 

I . V. 9 1 . A confused tradition charged Pope Anastasius II. , 
496-498, with having been led by Photinus of Thessalonica 
into heretical opinions concerning the divinity of Christ. 

vv. 16-39] CANTO XI 67 

lesser circles from grade to grade, like those 
which thou art leaving. All are full of ac- 
cursed spirits ; but, in order that hereafter the 
sight alone may suffice thee, hear how and 
wherefore they are in bonds. 

" Of every wickedness ^ that acquires hate in 
heaven injury is the end, and every such end 
afflicts others either by force or by fraud. But 
because fraud is an evil peculiar to man, it more 
displeases God; and therefore the fraudulent 
are the lower, and woe assails them more. 

" The first circle ^ is wholly of the violent : 
but because violence is done to three persons, 
it is divided and constructed in three rounds. 
To God, to one's self, to one's neighbor may 
violence be done ; I say to them and to their be- 
longings, as thou shalt hear with plain discourse. 
By violence, death and grievous wounds are 
inflicted on one's neighbor ; and on his sub- 
stance ruins, burnings, and harmful extortions. 
Wherefore the first round torments homicides, 
and every one who smites wrongfully, all de- 
spoilers and plunderers, in various troops. 

2. V. 22. Wickedness, or deliberate sin that proceeds 
from evil disposition, or fixed habit, distinguished from sins 
of incontinence, due to passionate impulse or want of self- 

3. V. 28. The first circle below, the seventh in the ordei 
of Hell. 

68 . HELL [vv. 40-60 

^^ Man may lay violent hands upon himself 
and on his goods ; and, therefore, in' the second 
round it behoves that he repent without avail 
who deprives himself of your world, gambles 
away and dissipates his property, and laments 
there where he ought to be joyous.* 

"Violence may be done to the Deity, by 
denying and blaspheming Him in the heart, 
and by contemning nature and His bounty : and 
therefore the smallest round seals with its sig- 
net both Sodom and Cahors,^ and him who, 
contemning God, speaks from his heart. 

"The fraud, by which every conscience is 
stung, man may practice on one that confides 
in him, or on one that has no stock of confi- 
dence. This latter mode seems to destroy only 
the bond of love which nature makes ^ ; where- 
fore in the second circle ^ nest hypocrisy, flat- 
teries, and he who bewitches, falsity, robbery, 
and simony, panders, barrators, and such like 

4. V. 45. Laments on earth because of violence done by 
himself to what should have made him happy. 

5. V. 50. Cahors, a town in southern France, on the 
river Lot, noted in the Middle Ages for the usurious dispo- 
sition and practice of its inhabitants, so that the term Caorsini 
was in common use as a synonym for usurers. 

6. V. 56. Only the common bond of man to man. 

7. V. 57. The second circle below, the eighth in the 
order of Hell. 

vv. 61-84] CANTO XI 69 

" By the other mode that love is forgotten 
which nature makes and that which is there- 
after added, whereby special confidence is cre- 
ated. Hence, in the smallest circle, where is 
the point of the universe, upon which Dis sits, 
whoso betrays is consumed forever." 

And I : " Master, full clearly thy discourse 
proceeds, and full well divides this pit, and 
the people that possess it ; but, tell me, they 
of the fat marsh, and they whom the wind 
drives, and they whom the rain beats, and they 
who encounter with such rough tongues, why 
are they not punished within the ruddy city ^ if 
God be wroth with them ? and if he be not so, 
why are they in such plight ? " 

And he said to me : " Why does thy wif so 
wander beyond its wont ? or thy mind, where 
else is it gazing ? Dost thou not remember 
those words with which thy Ethics treats in full 
of the three dispositions that Heaven abides 
not ; incontinence, wickedness, and mad bestial- 
ity, and how incontinence less offends God, and 
incurs less blame ? ^ If thou consider well this 

8. V. 73. In this lower Hell, within the walls of the 
city of Dis. 

9. V. 84. Aristotle, Ethicsy vii. i . Dante does not adopt 
Aristotle's classification as a whole, but, as has been pointed 
out by Dr. Moore (^Studies in Dante, i. 259, ii. 157-160) 
follows him only "in the broad distinction between sins of 

70 HELL [vv. 85-106 

doctrine, and bring to mind who are those that 
up above suffer punishment outside/° thou wilt 
see clearly why they are divided from these fel- 
ons, and why less wroth the divine vengeance 
hammers them." 

" O Sun that healest every troubled vision, 
thou dost content me so, when thou solvest, 
that doubt, not less than knowledge, pleases 
me ; yet turn thee a little back," said I, "to 
where thou sayest that usury offends the Di- 
vine Goodness," and loose the knot." 

" Philosophy," he said to me, " points out 
to him who understands it, not only in one 
part alone, how Nature takes her course from 
the Divine Intellect and from Its art. And if 
thou note thy Physics " well thou wilt find, 
after not many pages, that your art follows her 
so far as it can, as the disciple does the master, 
so that your art is as it were grandchild of 
God. From these two,'^ if thou bring to mind 

impulse [or appetite] and sins of habit . . . and as regards 
the latter borrows from Cicero (^De Officiisy I. xiii. 41) the 
distinction between such sins when carried out by violence 
and when effected by fraud.*' Bestiality or brutishness thus 
has no place in Dante's scheme. 

10. V. 87. Outside the walls of the city of Dis. 

11. V. 96. Virgil has not said this explicitly, but has 
implied it in his reference to Cahors, v. 50. 

12. V. 10 1. Aristotle, P^j;j/Vj, ii. 2. 

13. V. 106. From the bounty of Nature, and the exer- 
cise of Art. 

vv. 107-115] CANTO XI 71 

Genesis at its beginning/^ it behoves mankind 
to gain their life and to advance. But because 
the usurer holds another way, he contemns 
Nature in herself, and in her follower/^ since 
upon other thing he sets his hope/^ But 
follow me now, for to go on pleases me ; for 
the Fishes are quivering on the horizon, and 
the Wain lies quite over Caurus,'^ and far on- 
wards is the descent of the steep/' 

14. V. 107. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat 
bread." Genesis iii. 19. 

15. V. no. "Her follower,'* that is, the arts of man- 

16. V. III. The usurer sets his hope on gain not de- 
rived from the bounty of nature, nor won by the sweat of his 
brow in the practice of any art, and thus, as Bacon says, 
he " breaketh the first law that was made for mankind." 

17. V, 114. The sign of the Fishes precedes that of the 
Ram, and, as the Sun was in the latter sign, the time indicated 
is about 4, or from 4 to 5 a. m. Caurus, the name of the 
northwest wind, here stands for that quarter of the heavens. 


The Seventh Circle^ first round: those who do 
violence to others. — The Minotaur, — The Centaurs, 
— Chiron. — Nessus, — The River of boiling Bloody and 
the Sinners in it. 

The place where we came to descend the 
bank was alpine, and, because also of what was 
there, such that every eye would be shy of it. 

As is that downfall which, on this side of 
Trent, struck the Adige on its flank, either by 
earthquake or through failure of support, — for 
from the top of the mountain, whence it started, 
to the plain, the cliff has so tumbled down that 
it might afford some path to one that were 
above — such was the descent of that ravine : 
and on the edge of the broken chasm was out- 
stretched the infamy of Crete, that was conceived 
in the false cow. And when he saw us he bit 
himself even as one whom wrath rends inwardly. 
My Sage cried out toward him : " Perchance 
thou believest that here is the Duke of Athens,^ 

I. V. 1 6. " Why lorn, as olde stories tellen us, 

Ther was a clerk that highte Theseus, 
Of Athens he was lord and governour/' 
— The Knightes Tale, 1-3. 

vv. 10-43] CANTO XII 73 

who up in the world gave thee thy death ? Get 
thee gone, beast, for this one does not come 
instructed by thy sister, but he goes to behold 
your punishments/* 

As is that bull which breaks his halter at the 
instant he has just received his mortal stroke, 
and cannot go, but plunges this way and that, 
I saw the Minotaur do the like. 

And he ^ watchful cried : " Run to the 
pass ; while he is in a rage it is well that thou 
descend." So we took our way down over the 
discharge of those stones, which often moved 
under my feet because of the novel burden. 

I was going along thinking, and he said : 
" Thou art thinking perhaps on this ruin which 
is guarded by that bestial wrath which I just 
now quelled. Now I would have thee know 
that the other time when I descended here be- 
low into the nether hell, this cliff had not yet 
fallen. But in truth, if I discern aright, a little 
ere He came, who levied the great spoil on Dis 
from the uppermost circle,^ on all sides the 
deep foul valley trembled^ so that I thought 
the universe felt love whereby, as some believe, 
the world has oft-times been converted into 

2. V. 26. Virgil. 

3. V. 39. See Canto iv. 52-63. 

4. V. 41. At the moment of the death of Jesus, when 
"the earth did quake, and the rocks rent/* Matthezo 
xxvii. 51. 

74 HELL [vv. 44-60 

chaos : ^ and, at that moment, this ancient rock 
here and elsewhere made such downfall. But 
fix thine eyes below, for the river of blood is 
near, in which everyone who does harm by 
violence to others is boiling." 

Oh blind cupidity,^ both guilty and mad, 
which so spurs us in the short life, and then, in 
the eternal, steeps us so ill ! 

I saw a broad ditch, according as my Guide 
had said, bent in an arc, as that which embraces 
all the plain. And between the foot of the bank 
and it. Centaurs were running in a file, armed 
with arrows, as they were wont in the world 
to go to the chase. Seeing us descending, each 
stopped, and from the troop three detached 
themselves, with bows and darts first selected. 

5. V. 43. It was the doctrine of Empedocles that Love 
and Hate were powers to whose conflicting influences the 
actual condition of the sensible world is due, the one striving 
to unite, the other to separate and mingle the elementary sub- 
stances. If one or the other gained complete supremacy, 
which it was supposed might be the case at vast intervals of 
time, the existing universe would undergo a total change in 
all its parts. Dante may have gained imperfect knowledge 
of this doctrine from Aristotle. 

6. V. 49. Cupidity, the inordinate desire of temporal or 
material things, destructive alike of charity and justice, is the 
root of deeds of tyranny and violence such as are punished 
here. See Paradise, xv. 3; xxvii. 121; De Monarchia, i. 
II, 70. 

vv. 61-89] CANTO XII 75 

And one cried from afar : " To what torment 
are ye coming, ye who descend the slope ? 
Tell it from there ; if not, I draw the bow." 
My Master said : " We will make answer unto 
Chiron near by there : to thy hurt was thy will 
ever thus hasty." 

Then he touched me, and said : " That is 
Nessus, who died for the beautiful Dejanira, 
and himself wrought vengeance for himself; 
and that one in the middle, who is gazing on 
his own breast, is the great Chiron who nurtured 
Achilles ; that other is Pholus, who was so full 
of wrath. Round about the ditch they go by 
thousands, shooting with their arrows whatever 
soul lifts itself from the blood more than its 
crime has allotted to it." 

We drew near to those fleet wild beasts. 
Chiron took a shaft, and with the notch put his 
beard back upon his jaws. When he had thus 
uncovered his great mouth he said to his com- 
panions : " Are ye aware that the one behind 
moves what he touches ? thus are not wont 
to do the feet of the dead." And my good 
Leader, who was now at his breast, where the 
two natures are conjoined, replied : " He is 
indeed alive, and thus alone it behoves me to 
show him the dark valley : necessity leads him 
and not delight. One who withdrew from 
singing hallelujah committed unto me this new 

76 HELL [vv. 90-112 

duty ; he is no robber, nor I a fraudulent soul. 
But, by that Power through which I move my 
steps along so savage a road, give to us one of 
thine, to whom we may keep close, who may 
show us where the ford is, and may carry this 
one on his back, who is not a spirit that can go 
through the air.*' 

Chiron turned upon his right breast, and 
said to Nessus : " Turn, and guide them thus, 
and if another troop encounter you, make it 
give way." 

We moved on with the trusty escort along 
the edge of the crimson boiling, in which the 
boiled were uttering loud shrieks. I saw folk 
under it up to the brow, and the great Centaur 
said : " These are tyrants who laid hold on 
blood and plunder. Here they bewail their 
merciless misdeeds : here is Alexander, and cruel 
Dionysius who made Sicily have woeful years. 
And that forehead which has such black hair 
is Azzolino,^ and that other who is blond is 
Opizzo of Este,^ who of a truth was slain by his 
stepson up there in the world." 

7. V. no. Azzolino or Ezzelino III. da Romano, son- 
in-law of the Emperor Frederick II., and his vicar in North- 
ern Italy; one of the most cruel of tyrants. He died in 1259. 

8. V. III. Opizzo II. of Este, Marquis of Ferrara, a 
rapacious tyrant. It was believed that he was smothered by 
his son, called by Dante his stepson, Azzo (referred to in 

vv. 1 13-135] CANTO XII 77 

Then I turned me to the Poet, and he said : 
" Let him now be first for thee, and I second." 
A little further on the Centaur stopped above 
a folk who far as the throat seemed to come out 
from that boiling stream. He showed to us at 
one side a solitary shade, and said : " He cleft, 
in the bosom of God, the heart that still is 
honored on the Thames." ^ Then I saw folk, 
who were holding their heads, and even all their 
chests, out of the stream ; and of these I recog- 
nized many. Thus more and more that blood 
sank down, until it cooked only the feet : and 
here was our passage of the foss. 

" As on this hand, thou seest that the boiling 
stream continually diminishes," said the Cen- 
taur, " so I would have thee believe that on this 
other it lowers its bed more and more, until 
ft comes round again to where it behoves that 
tyranny should groan. The divine justice here 
goads that Attila who was a scourge on earth, 
and Pyrrhus and Sextus ; and forever milks the 

Hell, Canto xviii. 56 ; and Purgatory, Canto v. ']^^ in the 
year 1293. 

9. V. 1 20. In 1 27 1, Prince Henry, son of Richard, Earl 
of Cornwall, was stabbed, during the mass, in the church of 
St. Sylvester at Viterbo, by Guy of Montfort, to avenge the 
death of his father, Simon, Earl of Leicester, in 1265. The 
heart of the young Prince was placed in a golden cup, ac- 
cording to Villani (^Cronica, vii. 39), on a column, at the 
head of London bridge. 

78 HELL [vv. 136-139 

tears which with the boiling it unlocks from 

Rinier of Corneto and from Rinier Pazzo/° 

who made such warfare upon the highways." 

Then he turned back and repassed the ford. 

10. V. 137. Two noted highway robbers who, in the 
thirteenth century, beset travellers on the roads between 
Florence and Rome, and on the Roman Campagna. 


The Seventh Circle^ second round : those who have 
done violence to themselves and to their goods. — The 
Wood of Self-murderers, — The Harpies, — Pier delle 
Vigne, — Lano of Siena and others. 

Nessus had not yet reached the yonder bank 
when we set forward through a wood which was 
marked by no path. Not green leaves were 
there, but of a dusky color, not smooth boughs 
but gnarled and tangled, not fruits but thorns 
with poison. Those savage wild-beasts that 
hold in hate the tilled places between Cecina 
and Corneto ' have no thickets so rough or so 

Here the foul Harpies make their nests, 
who chased the Trojans from the Strophades 
with dismal announcement of future calamity." 
They have broad wings, and human necks and 
faces, feet with claws, and the great belly feath- 
ered. They make lament on the strange trees. 

1 . V. 9. The little river Cecina and the town of Cor- 
neto on the river Marta roughly designate respectively the 
northern and southern limits of the Tuscan Maremma. 

2. v. 12. See Aeneidy iii. 210-257. 

8o HELL [vv. 16-42 

And the good Master began to say to me : 
" Before thou enterest farther, know that thoii 
art in the Second Round,^ and wilt be, till thou 
shalt come to the horrible sand. Therefore 
look well around, and so shalt thou see things 
that would take credence from my speech." ^ 

I heard wailings uttered on every side, and I 
saw no one who made them, wherefore, all be- 
wildered, I stopped. I believe that he believed 
that I believed that all these voices issued from 
amid those trunks from people who because of 
us had hidden themselves. Therefore said the 
Master : " If thou break off any twig from one 
of these plants, the thoughts thou hast will all 
be cut short." Then I stretched my hand a 
little forward and plucked a little branch from 
a great thorn-bush, and its trunk cried out : 
" Why dost thou break me ? " When it had 
become dark with blood it began again to cry : 
" Why dost thou tear me ? hast thou not any 
spirit of pity? Men we were, and now we 
are become stocks ; truly thy hand ought to 
be more pitiful had we been souls of ser- 

As from a green log that is burning at one 
of its ends, and drips from the other, and hisses 
with the air that is escaping, so from that bro- 

3. V. 17. Of the Seventh Circle. 

4. V. 2 1 . Things which if told would seem incredible. 

VV.43-6I] CANTO XIII 8i 

ken twig came out words and blood together ; 
whereon I let the tip fall, and stood like a man 
who is afraid. 

"If he had been able to believe before," 
replied my Sage, " O injured soul, what he has 
seen only in my verse,^ he would not have 
stretched out his hand on thee ; but the incredi- 
ble thing made me prompt him to an act which 
weighs on me myself. But tell him who thou 
wast, so that, by way of some amends, he may 
refresh thy fame in the world above, whereto it 
is allowed him to return." 

And the trunk : ^ " Thou dost so allure me 
with sweet speech, that I cannot be silent, and 
may it not burden you, that I am enticed to 
talk a little. I am he who held both the keys 
of the heart of Frederick, and who turned 
them, locking and unlocking so softly, that 
from his secrets I kept almost every one. 

5. V. 48. In the story of Polydorus, in the third book 
of the Aeneid, 

6. V. 55. The spirit who speaks is Pier delle Vigne ; of 
low birth, but of great ability, he rose rapidly at the court of 
Frederick II., till he became the Chancellor of the kingdom 
of the Two Sicilies, and later the private secretary and confi- 
dential minister of the Emperor. In 1 249 he fell into dis- 
grace, and, according to common report, his eyes were put out, 
and he killed himself at Pisa by dashing his head against a wall. 
He was one of the earliest writers of Italian verse. Dante has 
placed his master as well as him in Hell. See Canto x. 119. 

82 HELL [vv. 62-88 

Fidelity so great I bore to the glorious office, 
that I lost my sleep and my pulse thereby. 
The harlot/ that never from the abode of Caesar 
turned her strumpet eyes, — the common death 
and vice of courts, — inflamed all minds against 
me, and they, inflamed, did so inflame Augus- 
tus that my glad honors turned to dismal sor- 
rows. My mind, through scornful disgust, 
thinking to escape scorn by death, made me un- 
just toward my just self. By the strange roots 
of this tree I swear to you, that I never broke 
faith to my lord who was so worthy of honor. 
And if one of you returns to the world, let him 
comfort my memory which yet lies prostrate 
from the blow that envy gave it." 

He paused a little, and then, " Since he is 
silent," said the Poet to me, "lose not the 
hour, but, if more please thee, speak and en- 
quire of him." Whereon I to him : " Do thou 
ask him further of what thou thinkest may sat- 
isfy me, for I cannot, such great pity fills my 

Therefore he began again : " So may this 
man do for thee freely that which thy speech 
prays for, spirit incarcerate, may it please thee 
yet to tell us how the soul is bound within 

7. V. 64. " Envie is lavendere of the court alway } 
For she ne parteth, neither nyght ne day, 
Out of the house of Cesar, — thus seith Dante." 

Legende of Good Womeriy 358-60. 

vv. 89-114] CANTO XIII 83 

these knots, and tell us, if thou canst, if from 
such limbs any soul is ever loosed." 

Then the trunk puffed strongly, and soon 
the wind was changed into this voice : " Briefly 
shall ye be answered. When the ferocious 
soul departs from the body wherefrom itself 
has torn itself, Minos sends it to the seventh 
gulf. It falls into the wood, and no part is 
chosen for it, but where fortune flings it there 
it sprouts like a grain of spelt ; it rises in a 
sapling and to a wild plant : the Harpies, feed- 
ing then upon its leaves, give pain, and to the 
pain a window.^ Like the others we shall go 
for our spoils,^ but not, however, that any one 
may revest himself with them, for it is not just 
for one to have that of which he deprives him- 
self. Hither shall we drag them, and through 
the melancholy wood shall our bodies be sus- 
pended, each on the thorn-tree of its molested 

We were still attentive to the trunk, believ- 
ing that it might wish to say more to us, when 
we were surprised by an uproar, like one who 
perceives the wild boar and the chase coming 
toward his post, and hears the beasts and the 

8. V. 102. The tearing of the leaves gives an outlet to 
the woe. 

9. V. 103. Like other spirits, for their bodies, at the 
Last Judgment. 

84 HELL [vv. 1 15-140 

crash of the branches. And behold, two on the 
left hand, naked and scratched, flying so hard 
that they broke through every barrier of the 
wood. The one in front was shouting : " Haste 
now ! haste thee. Death ! " and the other, 
who seemed to himself too slow : " Lano, thy 
legs were not so nimble at the jousts of the 
Toppo '* : '° and since perhaps his breath was 
failing, of himself and of a bush he made a 
group. Behind them the wood was full of 
black bitches, ravenous and running like grey- 
hounds that had been slipped from the leash. 
On him who had squatted they set their teeth 
and tore him piecemeal, then carried off those 
woeful limbs. 

My Guide then took me by the hand, and 
led me to the bush, which was weeping in vain 
through its bleeding fractures. " O Jacomo of 
Sant' Andrea," it was saying," "what has it 
vantaged thee to make of me a screen ? What 
blame have I for thy wicked life ? " When the 
Master had stopped above it, he said : "Who 
wast thou, who through so many wounds blow- 
est forth with blood a woeful speech P " And 
he to us : " O souls that are arrived to see the 

10. V. I 2 1 . Lano was slain in flight at the defeat of the 
Sienese by the Aretines, near the Pieve del Toppo, in 1 280. 
He and Jacomo were notorious spendthrifts. 

11. V. 1 3 3 . It is not known who this is that speaks. 

vv. 141-151] CANTO XIII 85 

shameful ravage that has thus disjoined my 
twigs from me, collect them at the foot of the 
wretched bush. I was of the city which for the 
Baptist changed her first patron ; " wherefore 
he will always make her sorrowful with his art. 
And were it not that at the passage of the Arno 
some semblance of him still remains, those citi- 
zens who afterwards rebuilt it upon the ashes 
that were left by Attila '^ would have done the 
work in vain.'^ I made a gibbet for myself of 
my own house." 

12. V. 1 44. The first patron of Florence was Mars ; a 
fragment of a statue of whom stood till 1333 at the head of 
the Ponte Vecchio, the Old Bridge over the Arno. See 
Paradise, xvi. 145-147. 

13. V. 149. It was not Attila, but Totila, who in 542 
besieged Florence, and, according to false popular tradition, 
burned it. Their names and deeds were frequently con- 
founded in the Dark Ages. 

14. V. 150. Under these words lies a satirical reference 
to the devotion of the Florentines to money making. Dante 
means, says Benvenuto da Imola, ** that after Florence gave up 
Mars, that is, fortitude and valor in arms, and began to worship 
the Baptist alone, that is, the Florin, on which is the figure 
of the Baptist, they met with misfortune in their wars.'* 
The fragment of the statue of Mars was a type of the little 
that remained of their old valor. 


The Seventh Circle^ third round: those who have 
done violence to God. — The Burning Sand. — Capaneus, 
— Figure of the Old Man in Crete. — The Rivers of 

Because the love of my native place con- 
strained me, I gathered up the scattered twigs 
and gave them back to him who was already 

Thence we came to the confine, where the 
second round is divided from the third, and 
where a horrible mode of justice is seen. 

To make the new things clearly manifest, I 
say that we had reached a plain which rejects 
every plant from its bed. The woeful wood is 
a garland round about it, even as the dismal 
foss to that. Here, on the very edge, we 
stayed our steps. The floor was an arid and 
dense sand, not made in other fashion than that 
which of old was trodden by the feet of Cato.^ 

O vengeance of God, how much shouldst 

I. V. 15. On his inarch across the Libyan desert, from 
Cyrene to Utica, in the year b. c. 47. See Lucan, Pharsalia, 
ix. 371-378. 

vv. i6~43] CANTO XIV 87 

thou be feared by every one who reads that 
which was manifest to my eyes ! 

I saw many flocks of naked souls, that were 
all weeping very miserably, and divers law 
seemed imposed upon them. Some folk were 
lying supine on the ground/ some were seated 
all crouched up,^ and others were going about 
continually.* Those who were going around 
were the more numerous, and those the less so 
who were lying down under the torment, but 
they had their tongues more loosed by the 

Over all the sand, with a slow falling, were 
raining down dilated flakes of fire, as of snow 
on alps without a wind. As the flames which 
Alexander in those hot parts of India saw fall- 
ing upon his host, unbroken to the ground, 
wherefore he took care to trample the soil by 
his troops, because the vapor was better extin- 
guished while it was single ; so was descending 
the eternal heat whereby the sand was kindled, 
like tinder beneath the steel, for doubling of 
the dole. The dance of the wretched hands 
was ever without repose, now there, now here, 
shaking oflF from them the fresh burning. 

I began : " Master, thou that overcomes t 

2. V. 22. Those who had done violence to God. 

3. V. 23. Those who had done violence to Nature. 

4. V. 24. Those who had done violence to Art. 

88 HELL [vv. 44-66 

everything, except the obdurate demons, who 
at the entrance of the gate came out against us, 
who is that great one that seems not to heed 
the fire, and lies despiteful and twisted, so that 
the rain seems not to ripen him ? " ^ And that 
same one who was aware that I was asking my 
Leader about him, cried out : " Such as I was 
alive, such am I dead. Though Jove weary 
out his smith, from whom in wrath he took 
the sharp thunderbolt wherewith on my last 
day I was smitten, or though he weary out the 
others, turn by turn, in Mongibello ^ at the 
black forge, crying, ' Good Vulcan, help, help ! ' 
even as he did at the fight of Phlegra,^ and 
hurl on me with all his might, he should not 
have thereby glad vengeance/' 

Then my Leader spoke with force so great, 
that I had never heard him so vehement : " O 
Capaneus, in that thy pride is not extinct, art 
thou the more punished ; no torment save thine 
own rage would be a pairr adequate to thy fury." 

5. V. 48. It is Capaneus, one of the seven kings who be- 
sieged Thebes. He, having mounted the walls, defied Jupiter, 
who slew him with a thunderbolt. See Statius, Thebaid, x. 

6. V. 56. Mt. ^tna, called by the Saracens in Sicily, 
Al gebely "The Mountain'*; this designation was trans- 
formed by the Italians into Mongibello. 

7. V. 58. The battle between the Gods and the Giants, 
in the vale of Phlegra in Thessaly.: 

vv. 67-89] CANTO XIV 89 

Then he turned round to me with better 
look, saying : " That was one of the Seven 
Kings who besieged Thebes, and he held, and 
it seems that he holds God in disdain, and it 
seems that he little prizes Him ; but as I said to 
him, his own despites are very due adornments 
for his breast. Now come behind me, and 
take heed still not to set thy feet upon the 
scorched sand, but keep them always close to 
the wood." 

In silence we came to where a little brook, 
the redness of which still makes me shudder, 
gushes forth from the wood. As from the 
Bulicame ^ a rivulet issues, which then the sinful 
women share among them, so that went down 
across the sand. Its bed and both its sloping 
banks were made of stone, and the margins on 
the side, wherefore I perceived that the cross- 
ing ^ was there. 

" Among all else that I have shown to thee, 
since we entered through the gate whose thresh- 
old is denied to no one, nothing has been dis- 
cerned by thine eyes so notable as is the present 

8. V. 79. The Bulicame, a hot spring near Viterbo, fre- 
quented as a bath, the use of a portion of which was assigned 
to ** sinfiil women." 

9. V. 84. The crossing of the breadth of the round of 
burning sand, on the way inward toward the descent to the 
next circle. 

90 HELL [vv. 90-110 

stream which deadens all the flamelets above 
it/* '° These words were of my Leader, where- 
fore I prayed him, that he would bestow on 
me the food of which he had bestowed on me 
the desire. 

" In mid sea lies a wasted land," said he 
then, " which is named Crete, under whose 
king the world of old was chaste. A moun- 
tain is there which of old was glad with water 
and with leaves, which is called Ida ; now it is 
desert, like a thing outworn. Rhea chose it 
of old for the trusty cradle of her little son, 
and, the better to conceal him when he wailed, 
caused cries to be made there." Within the 
mountain a great old man stands upright, who 
holds his shoulders turned towards Dami- 
etta," and gazes at Rome as if his mirror. His 
head is formed of fine gold, and his arms and 
breast are pure silver ; then far as to the fork 
he is of brass ; from there downward he is all 
of chosen iron, save that his right foot is of 

10. V. 90. By the steam rising from it ; see xv. 3. 

11. V. 102. To prevent Saturn from hearing the cries of 
the infant Jupiter, whom, had he known him to be alive, he 
would have sought to devour, in order to avert the fulfillment 
of the prophecy that he would be dethroned by one of his 
children. See Ovid, Fasti, iv. 197-214. 

12. V. 104. Damietta, near the chief eastern mouth of 
the Nile, designates here the East, where the history of man 

vv. III-I25] CANTO XIV 91 

baked earth, and he stands erect on that more 
than on the other. '^ Every part except the 
gold is cleft with a fissure that drips tears, 
which, collected, perforate that cavern. Their 
course is from rock to rock into this valley ; 
they form Acheron, Styx, and Phlegethon; 
then their way is down through this narrow 
channel till, where there is no more descend- 
ing, they form Cocytus, and what that pool is, 
thou shalt see ; therefore here it is not told." 

And I to him : " If the present stream flows 
down thus from our world, why does it appear 
to us only at this border ? " '* 

And he to me : " Thou knowest that the 
place is circular, and though thou art come far, 

13. V. 1 1 1 . This image is taken directly from the dream 
of Nebuchadnezzar ( Daniel ii. 3 1— 3 3 ) . It is the type of the 
historic life of man, with its back to the past, its face toward 
Rome, — the centre of the actual world. Its upper parts of 
metal represent the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron ages, 
according to the fancy of the poets. The two legs are gen- 
erally interpreted as the symbols of the Empire and the 
Church ; the right leg, on which the image rests the most, 
being the type of the Church. There is much difference 
of opinion concerning the significance of its foot of baked 
earth; possibly it may refer to the element of weakness in the 
Papacy from the earthly character of the Popes. The tears 
of the sinful and suffering generations of man form the rivers 
of Hell. 

14. V. 123. This border of the third round of the 
seventh circle. 

92 HELL [vv. 126-142 

always to the left in descending toward the 
bottom, thou hast not yet turned through the 
whole circle ; wherefore if a new thing appears 
to us, it ought not to bring wonder to thy 

And I again : " Master, where are Phle- 
gethon and Lethe found, for of the one thou 
art silent, and the other thou sayest is formed 
by this rain ? " '^ 

"In all thy questions truly thou pleasest 
me," he answered, " but the boiling of the red 
water should well solve one that thou askest.'^ 
Lethe thou shalt see, but outside of this ditch, 
there where the souls go to lave themselves, 
when the fault repented of has been removed." 
Then he said, " Now it is time to quit the wood ; 
take heed that thou come behind me ; the mar- 
gins which are not burning afford way, and 
above them every vapor is extinguished." 

15. V. 132. The rain of tears. 

16. The color and boiling of the river of blood in the first 
round of this seventh circle might have told Dante that it 
was Phlegethon, "rapidus flammis . . . torrentibus amnis ** 
(^Jeneid, vi. 556). 


Third round of the Seventh Circle: of those who have 
done violence to Nature. — Brunetto Latini, — Prophe- 
cies of misfortune to Dante, 

Now one of the hard margins bears us on, 
and the fume of the brook overshadows so that 
it saves the water and the banks from the fire. 
As the Flemings, between Wissant and Bruges, 
fearing the flood that rushes toward them, make 
the bulwark whereby the sea may be routed ; 
and as the Paduans along the Brenta, in order 
to defend their towns and their castles, ere Chi- 
arentana ' feel the heat, — in such like were 
these made, though neither so high nor so thick 
had the master, whoever he was, made them. 

We were now so remote from the wood that 
I could not have seen where it was though I 
had turned backward, when we encountered a 
troop of souls which was coming alongside the 
bank, and each of them was looking at us, as 
a man is wont to look at another at evening 

I . V. 9. The mountain regions north of the Brenta, by 
the floods from which the river is swollen in the spring. 

94 HELL [vv. 19-38 

under the new moon ; and they so sharpened 
their brows toward us as the old tailor does on 
the needle's eye. 

Thus eyed by that company, I was recog- 
nized by one who took me by the hem, and 
cried out : " What a marvel ! " And when he 
stretched out his arm to me, I fixed my eyes on 
his baked aspect so that his scorched visage did 
not prevent the recognition of him by my in- 
telligence ; and bending down my own to his 
face, I answered : " Are you here, Ser Bru- 
netto ? " ^ And he : " O my son, let it not dis- 
please thee if Brunetto Latini turns back a little 
with thee, and lets the train go on." I said to 
him : " With all my power I pray this of you, 
and if you will that I sit down with you I will 
do so, if it please him there,^ for I go with him." 
" O son," said he, " whoever of this herd stops 
for an instant, lies afterwards a hundred years 

2. V. 30. Brunetto Latini, one of the most learned and 
able Florentines of the thirteenth century. He was ban- 
ished with the other chiefs of the Guelph party, after the 
battle of Montaperti, in i 260, and went to France, where 
he resided for many years. After his return to Florence he 
became Secretary of the Commune. His principal literary 
work was Li Livres dou Tresor, written in French, an inter- 
esting compend of the omne scibile. He died in 1290. 
Dante uses the plural " you " in addressing him, as a sign 
of respect. 

3. V. 36. Dante never speaks Virgil's name in Hell. 

vv. 39-63] CANTO XV 95 

without fanning himself when the fire smites 
him ; therefore go onward : I will come at thy 
skirts, and then I will rejoin my band which 
goes lamenting its eternal penalties." 

I dared not descend from the road to go 
level with him, but I held my head bowed like 
one who goes reverently. He began : "What 
fortune or destiny leads thee down here before 
thy last day ? and who is this that shows the 
road ? " 

" There above, in the bright life," I answered 
him, " I went astray in a valley, before my time 
was full. Only yesterday morning I turned 
my back on it : this one appeared to me as I 
was returning to it, and he is leading me home- 
ward again along this path." 

And he to me : "If thou follow thy star, 
thou canst not miss the glorious port, if, in the 
fair life, I discerned aright : and if I had not so 
untimely died, seeing heaven so benignant to 
thee, I would have given thee cheer in thy work. 
But that ungrateful malignant people which de- 
scended from Fiesole of old,* and still smacks 
of the mountain and the rock, will make itself 

4. V. 62. After his flight from Rome Catiline betook 
himself to Faesulae (Fiesole), and here for a time held out 
against the Roman forces. The popular tradition ran that, 
after his defeat, Faesulae was destroyed, and its people, to- 
gether with a colony from Rome, made a settlement on the 

96 HELL [vv. 64-88 

hostile to thee because of thy good deeds ; and 
it is right, for among the bitter sorb-trees it 
befits not the sweet fig to bear fruit. Old re- 
port in the world calls them blind ; it is an 
avaricious, envious, and proud folk ; from their 
customs take heed that thou cleanse thyself. 
Thy fortune reserves such honor for thee that 
the one party and the other shall have hunger 
for thee : but far from the goat shall be the 
grass. Let the Fiesolan beasts make litter of 
themselves, and let them not touch the plant, 
if any spring yet upon their dungheap, in which 
the holy seed may revive of those Romans who 
remained there when it became the nest of so 
much wickedness." 

" If my entreaty were all fulfilled," replied I 
to him, " you would not yet be placed in ban- 
ishment from human nature ; for in my mind 
is fixed, and now fills my heart, the dear, good, 
paternal image of you, when in the world hour 
by hour you taught me how man makes him- 
self eternal ; and how much I hold it in grati- 
tude, it behoves that while I live should be dis- 
cerned in my speech. That which you tell of 

banks of the Arno, below the mountain on which Faesulae 
had stood. The new town was named Fiora, siccome fosse 
in far a edifaatay "as though built among flowers,'* but 
afterwards was called Fiorenza, or Florence. See G. Vil- 
lani, Cronicay i. 31-38. 

vv. 89-110] CANTO XV 97 

my course I write, and reserve it with other 
text^ to be glossed by a Lady, who will know 
how, if I attain to her. Thus much would I 
have manifest to you, that I, provided my con- 
science chide me not, for Fortune, as she wills, 
am ready. Such earnest^ is not strange unto 
my ears ; therefore let Fortune turn her wheel 
as pleases her, and the churl his mattock." 

My Master thereupon turned backward to 
his right, and looked at me ; then said : " He 
listens well who notes it." ^ 

Not the less for this do I go on speaking 
with Ser Brunetto, and I ask, who are his most 
noted and most eminent companions. And he 
to me : " To know of some is good, of the 
others it will be laudable for us to be silent, 
for the time would be short for so much speech. 
In brief, know that all were clerks, and great 
men of letters and of great fame, defiled in the 
world by one same sin. Priscian goes along 
with that disconsolate crowd, and Francesco 
d' Accorso ; ^ and thou couldst also have seen 

5. V. 89. The prophecy by Ciacco of the fall of Dante's 
party. Canto vi., and that by Farinata of Dante's exile. 
Canto X., which Virgil had promised should be made clear 
to him by Beatrice. 

6. V. 94. Such warnings of what is to come. 

7. V. 99. Who lays to heart what is said. 

8. V. 109. Priscian, the famous grammarian of the sixth 

98 HELL [vv. 111^124 

there, hadst thou had hankering for such scurf, 
him who was translated by the Servant of Ser- 
vants from the Arno to the Bacchiglione, 
where he left his ill-strained nerves.^ Of more 
would I tell, but my going on and my speech 
cannot be longer, for I see yonder a new smoke 
rising from the sand.'° Folk come with whom 
I must not be. Let my Treasure," in which 
I still am living, be commended to thee, and 
more I ask not." 

Then he turned back, and seemed of those 
who run across the plain at Verona for the 
green cloth," and of these he seemed the one 
that wins, and not he that loses. 

century; Francesco, a jurist of much repute in his time, who 
taught at Oxford and at Bologna, and died in 1 294 ; he was 
son of the more eminent Accorso whose ** Perpetual Com- 
ment" is still known to students of the Roman Law. 

9. V. 114. Andrea de' Mozzi, bishop of Florence, who 
because of his scandalous life was translated by Boniface 
Vin. to the less conspicuous bishopric of Vicenza, through 
which city the Bacchiglione runs. He died in 1296. 

10. V. 117. Smoke rising from the flames that burn the 
bodies of another troop of the sinners. 

11. V. 119. That is, Li Livres dou Tresor, * the trea- 
sure' of knowledge. 

12. V. 122. The prize in the annual races at Verona. 


The Seventh Circle^ third round : those who have done 
violence to Nature. — Guido Guerra^ Tegghiaio Aldo- 
brandi and "Jacopo Rusticucci. — The roar of Phlegethon 
as it pours downward. — The cord thrown into the abyss. 

I WAS now in a place where the resounding 
of the water which was falKng into the next 
circle was heard, like that hum which the bee- 
hives make, when three shades together sepa- 
rated themselves, as they ran, from a troop that 
was passing under the rain of the bitter tor- 
ment. They came toward us, and each cried 
out : " Stop thou, who by thy garb seemest to 
us to be one from our wicked city ! " 

Ah me ! what wounds I saw upon their 
limbs, recent and old, burnt in by the flames ; 
it grieves me still for them but to remember it. 

My Teacher gave heed to their cries ; he 
turned his face toward me, and : " Now wait," 
he said ; " to these one should be courteous, 
and were it not for the fire which the nature of 
the place shoots forth, I should say that haste 
better befitted thee than them." 

loo HELL [vv. 19-45 

As we stopped, they began again the old 
verse/ and when they had reached us they all 
three made a wheel of themselves. ' As cham- 
pions, naked and oiled, are wont to do, watch- 
ing for their grip and their vantage, before they 
exchange blows and thrusts, thus, wheeling, 
each directed his face on me, so that his neck 
was making continuous journey in contrary di- 
rection to his feet. 

" And if the wretchedness of this soft place * 
bring us and our prayers into contempt," began 
one, " and our darkened and scorched aspect, 
let our fame incline thy mind to tell us who 
thou art, that so securely rubbest thy living 
feet through Hell. He whose tracks thou 
seest me trample, although he go naked and 
stripped of skin, was of greater degree than 
thou thinkest. He was grandson of the good 
Gualdrada; his name was Guido Guerra, and 
in his life he did much with wisdom and with 
the sword. The other who treads the sand 
behind me is Tegghiaio Aldobrandi, whose 
reputation should be cherished in the world 
above. And I, who am set with them on the 
cross, was Jacopo Rusticucci,^ and surely my 
savage wife more than aught else injures me." 

1. V. 20. The wonted burden of their lamentation. 
See xiv. 20. 

2. V. 20. Soft with its loose sand. 

3. V. 44. Concerning Tegghiaio and Rusticucci Dante 

vv. 46-70] CANTO XVI loi 

If I had been sheltered from the fire I should 
have cast myself below among them, and I be- 
lieve that the Teacher would have permitted 
it ; but because I should have been burnt and 
baked, fear overcame my good will which made 
me greedy to embrace them. Then I began : 
" Not contempt, but grief, did your condition 
fix within me, such that slowly will it be all di- 
vested, soon as this my Lord said to me words 
by which I bethought me that such folk as ye 
are were coming. I am of your city ; and I 
have always rehearsed and heard with affection 
your deeds and honored names. I am leaving 
the gall, and going for sweet fruits promised to 
me by my veracious Leader ; but far as to the 
centre I needs must first descend." 

" So may thy soul long direct thy limbs," 
replied he then, " and so may thy fame shine 
after thee, say if courtesy and valor abide in 
our city as of wont, or if they have quite gone 
forth from it ? For Guglielmo Borsiere,* who 

had enquired of Ciacco, Canto vi. 79, 80. Tegghiaio and 
Guido Guerra were illustrious citizens of Florence in the 
thirteenth century ; of Rusticucci little is known. The good 
Gualdrada, famed for her beauty and her modesty, was the 
daughter of Messer Bellincione Berti, referred to in Cantos 
XV. and xvi. of Paradise as one of the early worthies of the 
city. See G. Villani, Cronica, v. 37. 

4. V. 70. Nothing is known from contemporary record 
of Borsiere, but Boccaccio tells a good story of him in the 
Decameron, i. 8. 

102 HELL [vv. 71-95 

is in torment with us but short while, and is 
going yonder with our companions, afflicts us 
greatly with his words." 

" The new people and the sudden gains * 
have engendered pride and excess, Florence, in 
thee, so that already thou weepest therefor." 
Thus I cried with uplifted face, and the three, 
who understood this for answer, looked one at 
the other, as one looks at truth. 

" If other times it costs thee so little," replied 
they all, " to satisfy others, happy thou if thus 
thou speakest at thy pleasure.^ Wherefore, if 
thou escapest from these dark places, and re- 
turnest to see again the beautiful stars, when it 
shall rejoice thee to say, * I have been,* mind 
thou tell of us to the people." Then they 
broke the wheel, and in flying their swift legs 
seemed wings. 

An amen could not have been said so 
quickly as they had disappeared : wherefore it 
seemed well to my Master to depart. I fol- 
lowed him, and we had gone little way before 
the sound of the water was so near to us, that 
had we spoken we had scarce been heard. As 
that river which first from Monte Viso holds 

5. V. 73. Florence had grown rapidly in population 
and in wealth during the last years of the thirteenth century. 

6. V. 8 1 . Without constraint, and without peril from 
thy frank speech. 

vv. 96-109] CANTO XVI 103 

its own course toward the east, on the left flank 
of the Apennine, — which is called Acquacheta 
up above, before it sinks down into its low bed, 
and at Forli has lost that name,^ — reverberates 
in falling from the alp with a single leap there 
above San Benedetto, where ought to be shelter 
for a thousand ; ^ thus, down from a precipitous 
bank, we found that dark water resounding, so 
that in short while it would have hurt the ears. 
I had a cord girt around me, and with it I 
had once thought to take the leopard of the 
painted skin.^ After I had loosed it wholly 

7. V. 99. The river which in its upper course was called 
Acquacheta, or Stillwater, when it reached Forli, was called 
the Montone or Ram ; it was the first of the rivers on the 
left of the Apennines that had its independent course to the 
Adriatic, which it entered near Ravenna ; the others being 
tributaries of the Po, which rises on Monte Viso. 

8. V. 102. The fall was near the monastery of San 
Benedetto, and the common explanation of these obscure 
words is, that the monastery ought to have contained more 
monks than it actually held. 

9. V. 108. The leopard of the painted skin, w^hich had 
often turned back Dante from the Mountain to the Dark 
Wood (see Canto i.) ; the type of sensual sin. The cord 
symbolises the human means, the ascetic vows or whatsoever 
else, on which Dante had relied to capture and subdue the 
beast. But now that he has been led through the circles 
in which the penalties of lust are exacted, and has learned 
the lesson of resistance, the cord is no longer needed ; some 
signal is required to summon Geryon, and Virgil uses the 
now needless cord for the purpose. 

104 HELL [vv. 1 10-136 

from me, as my Leader had commanded me, 
I reached it to him gathered up and coiled. 
Whereon he turned toward the right, and threw 
it, somewhat far from the edge, down into that 
deep gulf "And surely," said I to myself, 
"it must be that some novelty respond to the 
novel signal which the Master so follows with 
his eye." 

Ah ! how cautious ought men to be near 
those who see not only the deed, but with their 
wisdom look within the thoughts ! He said to 
me : " That which I await will soon come up, 
and what thy thought is dreaming must soon 
discover itself to thy sight." 

A man ought always to close his lips so far 
as he can to that truth which has the aspect 
of falsehood, because without fault it causes 
shame ; '° but here I cannot be silent, and 
Reader, I swear to thee, by the notes of this 
comedy, — so may they not be void of lasting 
grace, — that I saw through that thick and dark 
air a shape marvelous to every steadfast heart 
come swimming upwards, like as he returns 
who goes down sometimes to loose an anchor 
that grapples either a rock or aught else which 
is hidden in the sea, who stretches upward, and 
draws in his feet. 

TO. V. 126. Because the narrator is falsely taxed with 


Third round of the Seventh Circle : of those who have 
done violence to Art. — Geryon. — - The Usurers. — De^ 
scent to the Eighth Circle, 

" Behold the wild beast with the pointed 
tail, that passes mountains, and breaks walls 
and weapons ; behold him that infects all the 
world." ' Thus began my Leader to speak to 
me ; and he beckoned to him that he should 
come to shore near the end of the marbles we 
had walked on.^ And that loathsome image of 
fraud came onward, and landed his head and 
his bust, but did not draw up his tail on the 
bank. His face was the face of a just man (so 
benignant the skin it had outwardly), and all his 
trunk was of a serpent ; he had two paws, hairy 
to the armpits ; his back and his breast and 
both his sides were painted with nooses and 

1. V. 3. Dante makes Geryon the type and image of 
Fraud, thus allegorizing the triple form (^forma tricorporis 
umbrae: Aeneid^m. 289; tergemini Geryonae : Id. viii. 292) 
ascribed to him by the ancient poets. 

2. V. 6. The stony margin of Phlegethon, on which 
Virgil and Dante have crossed the sand. 

io6 HELL [vv. 16-38 

rings. Tartars or Turks never made cloth with 
more colors of groundwork and pattern, nor 
were such webs laid on the loom by Arachne. 

As sometimes boats lie on the shore, and 
are partly in water and partly on the ground, 
and as yonder, among the gluttonous Germans, 
the beaver settles himself to make his war,^ so 
lay that worst of beasts upon the edge of stone 
which closes in the sand. In the void all his tail 
was quivering, twisting upwards its venomous 
fork, which in guise of a scorpion armed the 

The Leader said : " Now needs must our 
way bend a little toward that wicked beast 
which is couching yonder." Therefore we de- 
scended on the right hand side and took ten 
steps upon the verge in order completely to 
avoid the sand and the flamelets. And when 
we had come to him, I see, a little farther on, 
people sitting upon the sand near to the empty 

Here the Master said to me : "In order that 
thou mayst carry away quite full experience of 

3. V. 22. With his tail in the water to attract his prey, 
as was popularly believed. 

4. V. 36. These people seated on the edge of the pit 
are of the third class of sinners punished in this round of the 
Seventh Circle, those who have done violence to Art, the 
usurers. (See Canto xi. 94-1 11.) 

vv. 39-6o] CANTO XVII 107 

this round, now go and see their condition. 
Let thy talk there be brief; until thou return- 
est I will speak with this beast, that it may- 
concede to us its strong shoulders." 

Thus, further up along the extreme head of 
that seventh circle, all alone I went where the 
sad people were sitting. Their woe was burst- 
ing forth through their eyes ; now here, now 
there they made help with their hands, some- 
times against the vapors,^ and sometimes against 
the hot soil. Not otherwise do the dogs in 
summer, now with muzzle, now with paws, when 
they are bitten either by fleas, or flies, or gad- 
flies. When I set my eyes on the face of 
certain of those on whom the grievous fire falls, 
I did not recognize one of them ; ^ but I per- 
ceived that from the neck of each was hanging 
a pouch, which had a certain color and a certain 
device,^ and therewith it seems their eye is fed. 
And as I come gazing among them, I saw 
upon a yellow purse azure which had the face 
and bearing of a lion.^ Then as the current 

5. V. 48. The falling flakes of flame. 

6. V. 54. Dante thus indicates that they were not 
worthy to be known. 

7. V. 56. The blazon of their arms, by which Dante 
learns who they are, not nobly borne upon the shield, but 
basely on the purse. 

8. V. 60. In heraldic terms, or, a lion's face azure. 

io8 HELL [vv. 61-82 

of my look proceeded, I saw another, red as 
blood, display a goose whiter than butter. 
And one, who had his little white sack marked 
with an azure and gravid sow,^ said to me : 
"What art thou doing in this ditch? Now 
get thee gone: and since thou art still alive, 
know that my neighbor, Vitaliano, will sit here 
at my left side. With these Florentines am 
I, a Paduan ; often they stun my ears, shout- 
ing: ' Let the sovereign cavalier come who 
will bring the pouch with the three beaks.* " '° 
Then he twisted his mouth, and thrust out his 
tongue, like an ox that licks its nose. And I, 
fearing lest longer stay might vex him who had 
admonished me to stay but little, turned back 
from these weary souls. 

I found my Leader, who had already 
mounted upon the croup of the fierce animal, 
and he said to me : " Now be thou strong and 
courageous ; henceforth the descent is by such 

the armorial bearings of the Gianfigliazzi, a Guelf family 
of Florence ; the next, gules^ a goose argent were those of 
the Ubriachi, Ghibellines, also of Florence. 

9. V. 64. Argent, a sow in brood azure, the arms of 
the Scrovigni of Padua. The sow, scrofa, is an instance 
of canting heraldry. 

10. V. 73. One Giovanni Buiamonte of Florence, " who 
surpassed all others of the time in usury,'* says Benvenuto da 
Imola. The shield of the Buiamonti bore three beaks of 

vv. 83-108] CANTO XVII 109 

stairs ; " mount thou in front, for I wish to be 
between, so that the tail cannot do harm." 

As is he who has the shivering fit of the 
quartan so near that his nails are already pale, 
and he is all of a tremble only looking at the 
shade, such I became at these uttered words : 
but his exhortations wrought shame in me, 
which in presence of a good lord makes a ser- 
vant strong. 

I seated myself on those huge shoulders. 
" So do," I wished to say, but the voice came 
not as I thought, " that thou embrace me." 
But he who other time had succored me, in 
other chance, soon as I mounted, clasped me 
and sustained me with his arms ; and he said : 
" Geryon, move on now ; let thy circles be wide, 
and thy descending slow; consider the novel 
burden that thou hast." 

As the little vessel goes from its place, back- 
ward, backward, so he thence withdrew; and 
when he felt himself quite at play, he turned 
his tail to where his breast had been, and 
moved it stretched out like an eel, and with 
his paws gathered the air to himself. Greater 
fear I do not think there was when Phaethon 
abandoned the reins, whereby heaven, as is 
still apparent," was scorched ; nor when the 

11. V. 82. Not by foot nor by boat as heretofore, but 
carried by living ministers of Hell. 

12. V. 108. In the Milky Way. 

no HELL [vv. 109-136 

wretched Icarus felt his loins unfeathering by 
the melted wax, his father crying to. him : "III 
way thou holdest/' than mine was, when I saw 
that I was in the air on every side, and saw 
every sight vanished, except that of the beast. 
It goes along swimming slowly, slowly, wheels 
and descends, but I perceive it not, save for the 
wind upon my face, and from below. 

I heard now on the right hand the gulf'^ 
making beneath us a horrible din; wherefore I 
stretch out my head, with my eyes downward. 
Then I became more terrified at the precipice, 
because I saw fires and heard laments ; whereat 
I, trembling, all the closer cling. And I saw 
then, for I had not seen them before, the de- 
scending and the circling, by the great evils 
which were drawing near on divers sides. '^ 

As the falcon which has been long on wing, 
that, without sight of lure or bird, makes the fal- 
coner say: "Ah me, thou stoopest ! " descends 
weary, whence it started swiftly, through a hun- 
dred circles, and alights disdainful and sullen 
far from its master; so Geryon set us at the 
bottom, at the very foot of the rough hewn 
rock, and, disburdened of our persons, vanished 
as arrow from the bowstring. 

13. V. 1 1 1 . Into which the red stream is falling. 

14. V. 126. The fires as they came into sight from dif- 
ferent points, and the wailings as they struck the ear, were 
terrifying signs by which the circling descent could be noted. 


Eighth Circle : the fraudulent ; the first pouch: pan- 
ders and seducers, — Venedico Caccianimico. — 'Jason, — 
Second valley : false flatterers. — Alessio Interminei, — 

There is a place in Hell called Malebolge/ 
ail of stone and of the color of iron, as is 
the circular wall that environs it. Right in the 
middle of this malign field yawns a very wide 
and deep pit, the structure of which I will tell of 
in its place. That belt, therefore, which remains 
between the pit and the foot of the high hard 
bank is circular, and it has its bed divided into 
ten valleys. Such a figure as where, for guard 

I.V.I. In the Eighth Circle the sinners are punished 
who belong to the first of the two classes of the fraudulent 
(see Canto xi. 52-66), that is, those who practised deceit 
upon persons who had no ground for special confidence in 
them. Its bed, which slopes gradually from the wall that 
environs it to the central pit of Hell, is occupied by ten deep 
concentric valleys, called bolge. Bolgia signifies, literally, a 
budget, or pouch ; and Malebolge^ evil pouches. The term 
is adopted by Dante as a contemptuous, picturesque metaphor 
for these valleys in which the sinners are pouched up. Each 
pouch contains one or more special orders of the fraudulent. 

112 HELL [vv. 11-30 

of the walls, very many moats encircle castles, 
the place where they are presents, such image 
did these make here. And as in such strong- 
holds from their thresholds to the outer bank 
are little bridges, so from the base of the cliff 
ran crags which traversed the embankments and 
the moats ^ far as the pit which cuts them off 
and collects them."^ 

In this place we found ourselves, shaken 
off from the back of Geryon ; and the Poet 
held to the left, and I moved on behind. On 
the right hand I saw new woe, new torments, 
and new scourgers, with which the first pouch 
was replete. At its bottom were the sinners 
naked ; on this side the middle they came 
facing us ^ ; on the further side along with us, 
but with greater steps. As the Romans, be- 
cause of the great host in the year of the Jubi- 
lee,5 have taken means for the passage of the 

2. V. 17. The bolge. 

3. V. 18. As the nave of a wheel collects and cuts off 
the spokes. 

4. V. 26. In their long circling course round the bolgia, 
the panders, going in opposite direction to the poets, came 
facing them ; on the further side the seducers were taking 
the contrary course. 

5. V. 29. The year 1299— 1300. The Jubilee was insti- 
tuted by Boniface VIIL, who issued a Bull granting plenary 
indulgence for a year from Christmas, i 299, to all pilgrims 
to Rome who should spend fifteen days in the city, visit the 

vv. 31-42] CANTO XVIII 113 

people over the bridge, so that on one side all 
have their front toward the Castle,^ and go to 
Saint Peter's, and on the other rim toward the 

Along the gloomy rock, on this side and on 
that, I saw horned demons with great whips, 
who were beating them cruelly from behind.^ 
Ah, how they made them lift their heels at the 
first blows ! truly not one waited for the sec- 
ond, or the third. 

While I was going on, my eyes were en- 
countered by one, and I said straightway thus : 
" Ere now for sight of him I have not fasted ;" 

churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, and should confess and 
repent their sins. The throng of pilgrims from all parts of 
Europe was enormous, and among other precautions for their 
safety was that here alluded to, a barrier erected lengthwise 
along the bridge of Sant' Angelo, in order that the crowd 
going to and coming from St. Peter's might pass in opposite 
directions without interference. 

6. V. 32. Of Sant' Angelo. 

7. V. 33. The Capitoline. 

8. V. 36. The fiends hitherto met with in Hell have 
mainly been figures derived from classical mythology, as 
Charon, the Furies, the Centaurs, Geryon, and others. 
None of them, with the exception of the brute Cerberus, 
have had part in the tormenting of the sinners. The Cen- 
taurs shot their arrows only at those who lifted themselves 
too much out of the river of blood. But in this valley, and 
in the fifth and ninth, the demons are the creatures of Hellj 
and administers of its torments. 

114 HELL [vv. 43-62 

wherefore to shape him out I stayed my feet, 
and the sweet Leader stopped with me, and 
assented to my going s.omewhat back. And 
that scourged one thought to conceal himself 
by lowering his face, but it availed him little, 
for I said : " Thou that castest thine eye upon 
the ground, if the features that thou bearest 
are not false, art Venedico Caccianimico ; but 
what brings thee to such stinging Salse ? "^ 

And he to me : " Unwillingly I tell it, but 
thy plain speech compels me, which makes me 
remember the old world. I was he who 
brought the beautiful Ghisola '° to do the will 
of the Marquis, however the shameful tale 
may be reported. And not the only Bolo- 
gnese do I weep here ; nay, this place is so full 
of them, that so many tongues are not now 
taught between Savena and the Reno to say 
sipa ; " and if of this thou wishest assurance 

9. V. 51. Sa/se, the name of a ravine near Bologna, 
into which the bodies of criminals were thrown. There is 
perhaps a play on the word sa/se as meaning ' sauces.' 

10. V. 55. His own sister ; the unseemly tale is known 
only through Dante and his fourteenth-century commenta- 
tors, and the latter, while agreeing that the Marquis was 
one of the Esti of Ferrara, do not agree as to which of 
them he was. Venedico was a man of note, and for a time 
Podesta of Pistoia, where Dante may have seen him. 

11. V. 61. Bologna lies between the Savena and the 
Reno ; sipa is the Bolognese provincialism for sia. 

VV.63-81] CANTO XVIII 115 

or testimony, bring to mind our avaricious 
breasts." As he spoke thus a demon struck 
him with his thong and said : " Begone, pan- 
der, here are no women for coining." 

I rejoined my Escort; then with few steps 
we came to where a crag jutted from the 
bank." We ascended it easily enough, and 
turning to the right '^ upon its ridge, from 
those eternal encircling walls '* we departed. 

When we were there where it '^ opens below 
to give passage to the scourged, the Leader 
said : " Wait, and let the sight strike on thee 
of these others born to ill, of whom thou hast 
not yet seen the face, because they have gone 
along together with us." 

From the old bridge we looked at the train 
that was coming toward us on the other side, 
and which the scourge in like manner drives 

12. V. 68. Forming one of the bridges thrown like an 
arch across the valley, and extending from bank to bank of 
the successive bolge. 

13. V. 71. Thus far in the Eighth Circle the poets had 
been w^alking to the left between the high wall and the first 
bolgia, and they consequently turn to the right to cross the 

14. V. 72. The walls enclosing the whole Eighth Cir- 
cle, forming the precipice circling the gulf down which 
Geryon had borne the poets. 

15. V. 73. Where the craggy bridge forms an arch over 
the bolgia. 

ii6 HELL [vv. 82-106 

on. The good Master, without my asking, 
said to me : " Look at that great one who is 
coming, and seems not to shed a tear for pain. 
What royal aspect he still retains ! He is Ja- 
son, who by courage and by wit despoiled the 
Colchians of their ram. He passed by the isle 
of Lemnos, after the bold pitiless women had 
given all their males to death. There with 
tokens and with ornate words he deceived Hyp- 
sipyle, the maiden, who first had deceived all 
the others. There he left her big with child, 
and lonely; such guilt condemns him to such 
torment ; and also for Medea is vengeance 
wrought.'^ With him goes whoever in such 
wise deceives. And let this suffice to know of 
the first valley, and of those that it holds in its 

We were now where the narrow path inter- 
sects with the second embankment, and makes 
of that abutments for another arch. From there 
we heard people whining in the next pouch, and 
puffing with their muzzles, and beating them- 
selves with their palms. The banks were en- 
crusted with a mould by the breath from below 

16. V. 95. In the fifth book of the Thebaid Statius 
makes Hypsipyle tell in flill her own story ; another source 
of it familiar to Dante was Ovid's Heroides, ep. vi. From the 
same source (ep. xii.) and from Ovid's Metamorphoses (lib. 
viii. ) he had the story of Medea. 

vv. 107-1323 CANTO XVIII 117 

which sticks on them, and was making quarrel 
with the eyes and with the nose. The bottom 
is so hollowed out that no place suffices us for 
seeing it, without mounting to the crown of the 
arch where the crag rises highest. Hither we 
came, and thence I saw down in the ditch peo- 
ple plunged in a filth that seemed to have come 
from human privies. 

And while I am searching down there with 
my eye, I saw one with his head so foul with 
ordure that it was not apparent whether he 
were layman or clerk. He shouted to me : 
"Why art thou so greedy to look more at 
me than at the other filthy ones ? *' And I to 
him : " Because, if I remember rightly, ere now 
I have seen thee with dry hair, and thou art 
Alessio Interminei of Lucca ; '^ therefore I eye 
thee more than all the rest.'* And he then, 
beating his pate : " Down here the flatteries 
wherewith I never had my tongue cloyed have 
submerged me." 

Hereupon my Leader said to me : " Mind 
thou push thy look a little further forwards so 
that thou mayest quite reach with thine eyes the 
face of that dirty and disheveled wench, who is 
scratching herself there with her nasty nails, and 
now is crouching down and now standing on 

17. V. 122. Of him little is known but what these words 

ii8 HELL [vv. 133-136 

foot. She is Thais the harlot, who answered her 
paramour when he said : ' Have I great thanks 
from thee ? ' — ^ Nay, marvelous.* '^ And here- 
with let our sight be satisfied." 

18. V. 135. These words are from Terence, Eunuchus, 
iii. I, but Dante had found them in Cicero, who cites them 
in his De Amicitiay cxxvi. § 98, as an example of the lan- 
guage of flattery. In Cicero's citation it does not clearly 
appear by whom the words are spoken, and Dante attributes 
to Thais what in the play is actually spoken by Gnatho. 
See Moore, Studies in Dante, i. 261. 


Eighth Circle : third pouch : simonists. — Pope Nich- 
olas IIL 

O Simon Magus/ O ^wretched followers, 
because ye, rapacious, do prostitute for gold and 
silver the things of God which ought to be the 
brides of righteousness, now it behoves for you 
the trumpet sound, since ye are in the third 

We were now at the next tomb,' having 
mounted on that part of the crag which hangs 
plumb just over the middle of the ditch. O 
Supreme Wisdom, how great is the art which 
Thou dost display in heaven, on earth, and 
in the evil world ! and how justly does Thy 
Power apportion ! 

Upon the sides and upon the bottom, I saw 
the livid stone full of holes all of one size, and 
each was circular. They seemed to me not 
less wide nor larger than those that in my 
beautiful Saint John are made for place of the 

1, V. I. See Acts viii. 9-24. 

2. V. 7. The next bolgia. 

120 HELL [vv. 19-34 

baptizers ; ^ one of which, not many years ago, 
I broke for the sake of one who was stifling in 
it : and let this be the seal to undeceive all 

Forth from the mouth of each were protrud- 
ing the feet of a sinner, and his legs up to the 
calf, and the rest was within. Both the soles 
of all of them were on fire, because of which 
their joints were twitching so hard that they 
would have snapped^ ropes and withes. As the 
flaming of things oiled is wont to move only 
on the outer surface, so was it there from the 
heels to the toes. 

" Who is he. Master, who torments himself, 
twitching more than the others his consorts," 
said I, "and whom a ruddier flame is sucking ? " 
And he to me : "If thou wilt that I carry thee 
down there by that bank which is the more 

3. V. 17. ** My beautiful Saint John '* is the Baptistery 
of Florence. In Dante's time the infants, born during the 
year, were all here baptized by immersion, mostly on the 
day of St. John Baptist, the 24th of June. There was a 
large circular font in the middle of the church, and around 
it in its marble wall were four cylindrical standing-places, 
closed by doors, to protect the ministering priests from the 
pressure of the crowd. 

4. V. 21. Some details of this incident are given by 
Benvenuto, and in the so-called Comento Anonimo, con- 
cerning which, it is to be inferred from the words of the 
poet, there had been false reports to Dante's discredit. 

vv. 35-52] CANTO XIX 121 

sloping,^ from him thou shalt know of himself 
and of his wrongs." And I : *' Whatever pleases 
thee is to my liking : thou art Lord, and know- 
est that I part me not from thy will, and thou 
knowest that which is unspoken." 

Then we went upon the fourth embank- 
ment, turned, and descended on the left hand, 
down to the bottom pierced with holes, and 
narrow. The good Master set me not yet 
down from his haunch, till he brought me to 
the cleft of him who was thus lamenting with 
his shanks. 

" O wretched soul, whoso thou art, that keep- 
est upside down, planted like a stake," I began 
to say, " say a word, if thou canst." I was 
standing like the friar who confesses the per- 
fidious assassin,^ who, after he is fixed, recalls 
him, in order to delay his death. 

And he ^ cried out : " Art thou already stand- 

5. V. 35. We are told later. Canto xxiv. 37-40, that 
all Malebolge slopes toward the central pit of Hell, and 
since the floor of each bolgia is level, it follows that the 
inner wall of each is lower than the outer. 

6. V. 50. Such criminals were sometimes punished by 
being set, head downwards, in a hole in which they were 
buried alive. 

7. V. 52. This is Nicholas III., pope from 1277 to 
1280. " He was the first Pope, or one of the first," says 
Villani, Cronica, vii. 54, *'in whose court simony was 
openly practised." He takes Dante to be Boniface VIII., 

122 HELL [vv. 53-69 

ing there? Art thou already standing there, 
Boniface ? By several years the writing lied to 
me. Art thou so quickly sated with that hav- 
ing, for which thou didst not fear to seize by 
guile the beautiful Lady,^ and then to do her 
outrage ? " 

Such I became as those who, through not 
comprehending that which is replied to them, 
stand as if mocked, and know not what to 

Then Virgil said : " Tell him quickly, I am 
not he, I am not he that thou thinkest." And 
I answered as was enjoined on me ; whereat 
the spirit writhed violently both his feet ; then, 
sighing and with tearful voice, he said to me : 
" What then dost thou want of me ? If to know 
who I am concern thee so much that thou hast 
therefore come down the bank, know that I 
was vested with the Great Mantle : ^ and ver- 

but Boniface was not to die till 1303. What Nicholas says 
of the writing, that is of the book of the fiiture, corresponds 
with Farinata's statement (Canto x. 100-108), concerning 
the foresight of the damned. 

8. V. 57. The Church, — the Bride of Christ, — which 
Boniface had seized by guile, through the deceit that he was 
charged with practising on Celestine V. in order to obtain the 
Papacy, and to which he had done outrage in many modes, 
but especially by his simoniacal practices. 

9. V. 69. The papal mantle, with which upon his elec- 
tion a Pope was mvested. Cf. Canto ii. 27. 

vv. 70-86] CANTOXIX 123 

ily I was a son of the She-Bear/° so eager to 
advance the cubs, that up there I put wealth, 
and here myself, into the purse. Beneath my 
head are the others that preceded me in simony, 
dragged down flattened through the fissures of 
the rock. Down there shall I in my turn sink, 
when he shall come whom I believed that thou 
wast, then when I put my sudden question ; but 
already the time is longer that I have cooked my 
feet, and that I have been thus upside down, 
than he will stay planted with his feet red ; for 
after him will come from westward, a shepherd 
without law," of uglier deed, such as befits to 
cover him and me. A new Jason will he be, 
of whom it is read in Maccabees ; " and as to 

10. V. 70. Nicholas was of the Orsini family, whose 
cognizance was a she-bear, orsa. 

11. V. 83. Bertrand de Goth, a native of Gascony, who 
after the short pontificate of Benedict XI. , the immediate suc- 
cessor of Boniface VIII., was elected Pope in 1 305 , and who 
died in 1 3 1 4, a little more than ten years after the death of 
Boniface. Nicholas had already, at the time of Dante's inter- 
view with him, ** cooked his feet *' for twenty years, and was 
to cook them still for more than three years before the arrival 
of Boniface to take his place. The prophecy of the death of 
Clement shows that this canto was not written till after i 3 1 4. 
In 1 309 Clement transferred the Papal See to Avignon ; 
this was a deed ** without law,'* and he was beside noted 
for cupidity, simony, and licentiousness. Cf. Paradise, 
XXX. 142-148. 

12. V. 86. Clement is compared to Jason, ** that un- 

124 HELL [vv. 87-103 

that one his king was compliant, so to this one 
he who rules France shall be." 

I know not if here I was too foolhardy that 
I answered him only in this strain : " Pray now 
tell me, how much treasure did our Lord re- 
quire of Saint Peter before he placed the keys in 
his keeping? Surely he asked nothing save: 
' Follow thou me/ '^ Nor did Peter or the 
others take gold or silver of Matthias, when he 
was chosen by lot to the place which the guilty 
soul had lost.'* Therefore stay thou, for thou art 
rightly punished, and guard well the ill-gotten 
money that made thee bold against Charles.'^ 
And were it not that reverence for the supreme 
keys which thou heldest in the glad life even 
now forbids it to me, I would use still heavier 

godly wretch and no high-priest," who bought the high- 
priesthood from King Antiochus (see 2 Maccabees iv.), be- 
cause in order to obtain the Papacy he, like Jason, " laboured 
underhand ' * and secured his election by his promises to Philip 
the Fair (Philip IV.) of France, who held control of the 
Papal conclave. 

^3* V. 93. See Matthew xvi. 19, and John xxi. 

14. V. 96. See ^r// i. 15-26. 

15. V. 99. Charles of Anjou. The Pope was charged 
with having been bribed to favor the conspiracy to expel the 
French from Sicily, which came to a head, more than a year 
after his death, in the Sicilian Vespers, in March, 1282. It 
is not the Pope's enmity to Charles for which Dante rebukes 
him, but for his greed of money. 

vv. 104-117] CANTO XIX 125 

words ; for your '^ avarice afflicts the world, 
trampling down the good and exalting the 
bad. Ye shepherds the Evangelist had in mind, 
when she that sitteth upon the waters was seen 
by him to fornicate with kings : she that was 
born with the seven heads, and from the ten 
horns had argument,'^ so long as virtue pleased 
her spouse.'^ Ye have made you a god of gold 
and silver : '^ and what else is there between 
you and the idolaters save that they worship 
one, and ye a hundred ? Ah Constantine ! of 
how much ill was mother, not thy conversion, 
but that dowry which the first rich Father took 
from thee ! " ^'^ 

16. V. 104. The plural *' your " refers to the pastors 
of the Church in general. 

17. V, no. Argument, that is, evidence, witness, or 

18. V. 1 1 1. Dante deals freely with the figures of the 
Apocalypse : Revelation xvii. The woman here stands for 
the Church ; her seven heads may be interpreted as the 
Seven Sacraments, and her ten horns as the Command- 
ments ; her spouse is the Pope. 

19. V. 1 1 2. ** Of their silver and their gold have they 
made them idols." Hosea viii. 4. 

20. V. 117, The reference is to the so-called Donation 
of Constantine, the authenticity of which was generally be- 
lieved in, till its forgery was conclusively exposed about 1 450 
by Laurentius Valla. Milton translates these verses : — 

** Ah Constantine ! of how much ill was cause 
Not thy conversion, but those rich domains 
That the first wealthy Pope received of thee." 

Of Reformation in England^ Book I. 

126 HELL [vv. 1 18-133 

And, while I was singing these notes to him, 
whether anger or conscience stung him, he was 
kicking hard with both his feet., I beHeve, 
indeed, that it pleased my Leader, with so con- 
tented look did he all the while give heed to 
the sound of the true words uttered. There- 
upon with both his arms he took me, and when 
he had me wholly on his breast, remounted 
along the way whereby he had descended. 
Nor did he tire of holding me clasped to him, 
till he had thus borne me up to the top of the 
arch which is the passage from the fourth to 
the fifth embankment. Here he gently laid 
down his burden, gently because of the rugged 
and steep crag, which would be a difficult pass 
for goats. Thence another great valley was 
discovered to me. 

This passage (vv. 106— 117) was, by order of the Spanish 
Inquisition, expurgated from copies of the Divine Comedy- 
introduced into Spanish territory. 


Eighth Circle : fourth pouch : diviners^ soothsayers^ 
and magicians, — Amphiaraus. — Tiresias. — Aruns, 
— Manto, — Eurypylus, — • Michael Scott, — Asdente. 

Of a new punishment it behoves me to 
make verses, and give material to the twenti- 
eth canto of the first lay, which is of the sub- 

I was now wholly in position to look into the 
uncovered depth which was bathed with tears 
of anguish, and I saw folk come, silent and 
weeping, along the great circular valley, at the 
pace which the litanies* make in this world. 
As my sight descended lower on them,' each 
appeared marvelously distorted between the 
chin and the beginning of the chest ; for their 
face was turned toward their reins, and they 
must needs go backwards, because looking for- 

1 . V. 3 . Plunged into the misery of Hell. 

2. V. 9. Religious processions chanting litanies as they 
move with slow steps. 

3. V. 10. As they came closer to the bridge so that 
Dante saw them more nearly beneath him. 

128 HELL [vv. 15-31 

ward was taken from them. Perhaps indeed 
by force of palsy some one has been thus com- 
pletely twisted, but I never saw it, nor do I 
believe it can be. 

So may God let thee, Reiader, gather fruit 
from thy reading, now think for thyself how I 
could keep my face dry, when close at hand I saw 
our image so contorted that the weeping of the 
eyes bathed the buttocks along the cleft. Truly 
I wept, leaning on one of the rocks of the hard 
crag, so that my Guide said to me : " Art thou 
even yet among the other fools ?* Here pity 
lives when it is quite dead.* Who is more 
criminal than he who brings passion to the Di- 
vine Judgment ? ^ Lift up thy head, lift up, and 

4. V. 27. After all that thou hast seen. 

5. V. 28. It is impossible to give the full significance of 
Dante's words in a literal translation, owing to the double 
meaning oipieta in the original. 

" Qui vive la pieta quando e ben morta : ** 
that is : ** Here livieth piety when pity is quite dead.** A 
similar play upon the word occurs in Par, iv. 105, where 
Beatrice, speaking of Alcmaeon, says : ** Per non perder 
pieta si fe spietato," '* In order not to lose piety he pitiless 
became. * * 

6. V. 30. Who is more criminal than he in whom the 
judgments of God arouse passionate feelings of pity ? St. 
Thomas Aquinas (.S. T. Suppl. xciv. 3) concludes that the 
saints in heaven will rejoice in the sufferings of the damned 
per accidensy contemplating in them the divine justice and 
their own deliverance from them, and cites, as authority for 

vv. 31-43] CANTO XX 129 

see him^ for whom the earth opened before 
the eyes of the Thebans, whereat they all 
shouted : * Whither art thou rushing, Amphia- 
raus ? Why dost thou leave the war ? ' And 
he stopped not from falling headlong down far 
as Minos, who lays hold on every one. Look, 
how he has made a breast of his shoulders ! 
Because he wished to see too far before him, 
he looks behind and goes a backward path. 

" Behold Tiresias,^ who changed semblance, 
when from male he became female, transform- 
ing all his members; and afterwards he was 
obliged to strike again with his rod the two 

this opinion, the words of Psalm Iviii. 10: * ' The righteous 
shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance." Virgil has not 
rebuked Dante for feeling compassion for individual sinners 
suffering the penalty of sin (see Cantos v. 72, 93, 117; 
XV. 79 ; xvi. 52), but he rebukes him here, because his 
tears are shed not from sympathy with a special sinner, but 
at the mere sight of the punishment, which, being the evi- 
dence of the justice of God, ought not to awaken pity. 

7. V. 31. Amphiaraus, one of the seven kings who 
besieged Thebes ; he was an augur and prophet. Dante 
found his story in Statius, Thebais, vii. 690—823. 

8. V. 40. The Theban soothsayer. Dante had learned 
of him from Ovid, Metam.y iii. 320 sqq. The story con- 
cerning him to which Dante refers is that he saw a male and 
female serpent together, and striking them with his staff" killed 
the female, whereon he himself was transformed to a woman. 
Seven years later he again saw two serpents, and now killing 
the male became again a man. 

130 HELL [vv. 44-66 

entwined serpents, ere he could regain his mas- 
culine plumage. He who has his back to this 
one's belly is Aruns,^ who on the mountains of 
Luni (where grubs the man of Carrara who 
dwells below) had a cave for his abode among 
white marbles, whence for looking at the stars 
and the sea his view was not cut off. 

" And she who with her loose tresses covers 
her breasts, which thou dost not see, and has 
on that side all her hairy skin, was Manto," 
who roamed through many lands, then settled 
there where I was born ; whereof it pleases me 
that thou listen a little to me. After her father 
had departed from life, and the city of Bac- 
chus " had become enslaved, she wandered 
long while through the world. Up in fair 
Italy, at foot of the alp which shuts in Ger- 
many above Tyrol, lies a lake which is called 
Benaco." By a thousand founts, I think, and 
more, between Garda and Val Camonica, Apen- 
nino'^ is bathed by the water which settles 

9. V. 46. An Etruscan soothsayer of whom Lucan 
tells, — 

** Aruns incoluit desertae moenia Lunae." 

Phars.f i. 586. 

10. V. 55. The daughter of Tiresias, and herself a 
prophetess, of whom Virgil, Ovid, and Statins all tell. 

11. V. 59. Thebes. 

12. V. 63. Now Lago di Garda. 

13. V. 65. Not the chain of the Apennines, but said 
to be the proper name of a special mountain in this locality. 

vv. 67-94] CANTO XX 131 

in that lake. A place is in the middle there, 
where the Trentine Pastor and he of Brescia 
and the Veronese might each give his blessing 
if he took that road.'* Peschiera, a fair and 
strong fortress, to front the Brescians and Ber- 
gamasques, sits where the shore round about 
is lowest. There that which in the bosom of 
Benaco cannot stay must needs all pour forth, 
and it becomes a river down through green 
pastures. Soon as the water gathers head 
to run, it is no longer called Benaco, but Min- 
cio, far as Governo, where it falls into the Po. 
It has no long course before it finds a flat, 
on which it spreads, and makes a marsh, and 
is apt at times in summer to be noisome. 
Passing that way, the savage virgin saw land in 
the middle of the fen, without culture and bare 
of inhabitants. There, to avoid all human fel- 
lowship, she stayed with her servants to practice 
her arts, and lived, and left there her body 
empty. Afterward the men who were scattered 
round about gathered to that place, which was 
strong because of the fen which it had on all 
sides. They built the city over those dead 
bones, and for her, who first had chosen the 
place, they called it Mantua, without other 
augury. Formerly its people were more thick 

14. V. 69. A point in the lake where the three dioceses 

132 HELL [vv. 95-113 

within it, before the stupidity of Casalodi had 
been tricked by Pinamonte.'^ Therefore I in- 
struct thee that if thou ever hearest that my 
city had other origin, no falsehood may defraud 
the truth." 

And I : " Master, thy discourses are so cer- 
tain to me, and so lay hold on my faith, that 
the others would be to me as spent coals. But 
tell me of the people who are going onward, if 
thou seest any one of them worthy of note ; for 
only to that does my mind revert." 

Then he said to me : " That one, who 
stretches his beard from his cheek over his 
dusky shoulders, was an augur when Greece 
was so emptied of males that they scarcely re- 
mained for the cradles, and with Calchas he 
gave the moment for cutting the first cable at 
Aulis. Eurypylus was his name, and thus my 
lofty Tragedy sings him in some place ; '^ well 

15. V. 96. The Count of Casalodi, being lord of Man- 
tua about 1270, gave ear to the treacherous counsels of 
Messer Pinamonte de* Buonaccorsi, and after expelling many 
of the nobles was himself driven from the city, with great 
slaughter and dispersion of the chief families that had re- 

16. V. 113. 

** Suspensi Eurypylum scitantem oracula Phoebi 
Mittimus." Aeneid^ ii. 1 12. 

** In doubt we send Eurypylus to consult the oracle of 
Phoebus," in regard to the departure of the Greeks from 

vv. 114-125] CANTO XX 133 

thou knowest this, who knowest the whole of 
it. That other who is so spare in the flanks 
was Michael Scot/^ who verily knew the game 
of magical deceptions. Behold Guido Bo- 
natti/^ behold Asdente/^ who now would wish 
he had attended to his leather and his thread, 
but too late repents. Behold the wretched 
women who left the needle, the spool, and 
the spindle, and became fortune-tellers ; they 
wrought spells with herbs and with image. 

" But come on now, for already Cain with 
his thorns ^° holds the confines of both the 

Troy. Virgil makes no mention of his being associated with 
Calchas in determining the moment of departure of the Greek 
fleet from Aulis. 

17. V. 116. 

** A wizard of such dreaded fame 
', That, when in Salamanca's cave 
Him listed his magic wand to wave, 
The bells would ring in Notre Dame." 

Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto ii. 

Michael Scot's fame was great in Italy, and he lived for 
many years with high distinction at the court of the Emperor 
Frederick II. He died in Scotland about 1250. 

18. V. 118. A famous astrologer of Forli, in the thir- 
teenth century. 

19. V. 1 18. Dante, in the Convito, iv. 16, says that if 
noble meant being widely known, then " Asdente, the shoe- 
maker of Parma, would be more noble than any of his fellow- 

20. V. 1 26. The Man in the Moon, who, according 
to the Italian version of the old popular legend, was Cain 
condemned to carry forever a bundle of thorns. 

134 HELL [vv. 126-130 

hemispheres, and touches the wave below Se- 
ville ; and already yesternight was the moon 
round ; well shouldst thou remember it, for it 
did thee no harm sometimes in the deep 
wood." ''^ Thus he spoke to me, and we went 
on the while. 

21. V. 129. These words suggest that the moonlight is 
a symbol of the light of mere human knowledge, a pale and 
cold reflection of divine truth, but still helpful because of the 
virtue of its source. 


Eighth Circle : fifth pouch : barrators. — J magis- 
trate of Lucca. — The Malehranche. — Parley with 

Thus from bridge to bridge we went, talking 
of other things, which my Comedy cares not to 
sing, and were holding the summit,' when we 
stopped to see the next cleft of Malebolge and 
the next vain lamentations ; and I saw it won- 
derfully dark. 

As in the Arsenal of the Venetians, in win- 
ter, the sticky pitch for paying their unsound 
vessels is boiling, because they cannot sail the 
sea, and, instead thereof, one builds him a new 
bark, and one caulks the ribs of that which has 
made many a voyage ; one hammers at the 
prow, and one at the stern ; another makes 
oars, and another twists cordage ; and one 
patches the foresail and the mainsail, — so, not 
by fire, but by divine art, a thick pitch was 
boiling there below, which belimed the bank on 

I. V. 3. The crown of the arch of the craggy bridge 
across the fifth bolgia. 

136 HELL [vv. 19-42 

every side. I saw it, but saw not in it aught 
but the bubbles which the boiling raised, and 
all of it swelling up and again settling down 

While I was gazing down • there fixedly, my 
Leader, saying : " Beware ! beware ! " drew me 
to himself from the place where I was standing. 
Then I turned as one who is in haste to see 
that from which it behoves him to fly, and 
whom a sudden fear dismays, and who for see- 
ing delays not to depart, and I saw behind us a 
black devil come running up along the crag. 
Ah ! how fell he was in aspect, and how bitter 
he seemed to me in act, with his wings open, 
and light upon his feet ! His shoulder, which 
was sharp and high, was laden by a sinner with 
both haunches, the sinews of whose feet he held 
clutched. " O Malebranche ^ of our bridge," 
he said, " lo here, one of the Ancients of Saint 
Zita ! ' put him under, for I am returning for 
still others to that city, which I have furnished 
well with them ; every man there is a barrator,^* 
except Bonturo : ^ there, for money, out of 

2. V. 37. Maki^rancbe means ** Evil-claws.** 

3. V. 38. One of the Anzianiy the chief magistrates of 
Lucca, whose special protectress was Santa Zita. 

4. V. 41. A corrupt official, selling justice or oiEce for 

5. V. 41. Ironical ; Bonturo was the chief barrator of 
them all. 

vv. 43-^5] CANTO XXI 137 

Nay is made Ay." Down he hurled him and 
turned back along the hard crag, and never 
mastiff loosed was in such haste to follow a 

That one sank under, and rose again doubled 
up, but the demons that had cover of the 
bridge cried out: "Here the Holy Face^ 
has no place ; here one swims otherwise than in 
the Serchio ; ^ therefore, if thou dost not want 
our grapples, make no show above the pitch." 
Then they pricked him with more than a hun- 
dred prongs, and said ; " Here thou must 
dance under cover, so that, if thou canst, thou 
mayst swindle secretly." Not otherwise do the 
cooks make their scullions plunge the meat 
with their hooks into the middle of the caul- 
dron, so that it may not float. 

The good Master said to me : " In order 
that it be not apparent that thou art here, 
squat down behind a jag, that thou mayst have 
some screen for thyself, and at any offence that 
may be done to me be not afraid, for I have 
knowledge of these things, because once before 
I was in such a wrangle." 

Then he passed on beyond the head of the 
bridge, and when he arrived upon the sixth bank, 

6. V. 48. The Santo Folto, an image of Christ upon the 
cross, ascribed to Nicodemus, still venerated at Lucca. 

7. V. 49. The river that runs not far from Lucca. 

138 HELL [vv. 66-95 

he had need to have a steadfast front. With 
that fury and with that storm, with which dogs 
run out upon the poor wretch, who where he 
stops suddenly asks alms, they came forth from 
under the little bridge, and turned against him 
all their grapples. But he cried out : " Let no 
one of you be savage ; before your hook take 
hold of me, let one of you come forward that 
he may hear me, and then take counsel as to 
grappling me." All cried out: "Let Mala- 
coda ^ go ; '* whereon, while the rest stood still, 
one moved and came to him, saying : " What 
does this profit him ? " " Thinkest thou, 
Malacoda, to see me come here," said my 
Master, " safe hitherto from all your hin- 
drances, except by Divine Will and propitious 
fate ? Let me go on, for in Heaven it is 
willed that I show to another this wild road." 
Then was his arrogance so fallen that he let the 
hook drop at his feet, and said to the others : 
*' Now he may not be struck." 

And my Leader to me : " O thou that sittest 
asquat among the splinters of the bridge, return 
now securely to me." Wherefore I moved and 
came swiftly to him ; and the devils all pressed 
forward, so that I feared they would not keep 
compact. And thus I once saw the foot-sol- 
diers afraid, who were coming out from Caprona 
8. V. 76. M^//7rtf^-^ means "Evil-tail." 

vv. 96-116] CANTO XXI 139 

under pledge,^ seeing themselves among so 
many enemies. I drew close with my whole 
body to my Leader's side, and did not turn my 
eyes from their look, which was not good. They 
were lowering their forks, and one was saying 
to the other : " Wilt thou that I touch him on 
the rump ? *' and they were answering : " Yes, 
see that thou nick it for him." But that demon 
who was holding speech with my Leader turned 
round with all haste and said : " Quiet, quiet, 
Scarmiglione ! " 

Then he said to us : " Further advance 
along this crag is not possible, because the 
sixth arch lies all shattered at the bottom. And 
if it be still your pleasure to go forward, go on 
along this ridge ; near by is another crag that 
affords a way.'° Yesterday, five hours later 
than this, completed one thousand two hundred 
and sixty-six years since the way was broken 
here." I am sending thitherward some of these 
of mine, to see if any one is airing himself; " 

9. V. 95. In August, 1290, the town of Caprona, on 
the Arno, surrendered to the Florentine troops, with whom 
Dante was serving. 

10. V. III. This, as soon appears, is a lie ; all the 
craggy bridges across this l>o/gia are broken. 

11. V. 1 1 4. By the earthquake at the death of the Sav- 
iour who, it. was believed, was thirty-four years old at his 

12. v. 1 1 6. To see if any one of the sinners is showing 
above the pitch. 

140 HELL [vv. 117-135 

go ye with them, for they will not be wicked. 
Come forward, Alichino and Cal'cabrina," he 
began to say, " and thou, Cagnazzo ; and Bar- 
bariccia, do thou guide the ten. Let Libicocco 
go also, and Draghignazzo, tusked Ciriatto, and 
Graffiacane, and Farfarello, and mad Rubi- 
cante.'^ Search round about the boiling pitch ; 
let these be safe far as the next crag, which all 
unbroken goes over these dens." 

" O me ! Master, what is this that I see ? " 
said I ; " pray, if thou knowest the way, let us 
go alone without escort, for as for myself I crave 
it not. If thou art as wary as thou art wont, 
dost thou not see that they grin, and with their 
brows threaten harm to us ? " And he to me : 
" I would not have thee afraid ; let them grin 
on at their will, for they are doing it at the 
boiled sufferers." 

13. V. 123. Some of the names of these demons have as 
plain a significance as Malacoda ; for example, Cagnazzo for 
Cagnaccio, " wretched dog " ; Barbaricciay " crisp beard " ; 
Graffiacane i *' scratch dog " ; while others suggest a meaning 
by their composition or their sound, as Alichino y " bent 
wing'*; Rubicante, "rubicund"; Scarmiglione, ** dishev- 
elled," and so on. All the names are intended to indicate 
the semi-comic, contemptible, and yet mischievous and cruel 
nature of the demons. The images and the diction of this 
and the next canto are lowered, as if to indicate the extreme 
contempt of the poet for the sinners in this bolgia. There 
is a humorous element in the scenes, which relieves the strain 
of the horror of the cantos which precede and follow. 

vv. 136-139] CANTO XXI 141 

Upon the left bank they took a turn, but 
first each had pressed his tongue with his teeth 
toward their leader as a signal, and he had 
made a trumpet of his rump. 


Eighth Circle : fifth pouchy continued : barrators, 

— Ciampolo of Navarre, — Fra Gomita. — Michael 
Zanche, — Fray of the Malebranche. 

I HAVE seen ere now horsemen moving 
camp, and beginning an assault, and making 
their muster, and sometimes retiring for their 
escape ; I have seen foragers over your land, 
O Aretines, and I have seen the starting of 
raids, the onset of tournaments, and the run- 
ning of jousts, now with trumpets, and now 
with bells, with drums, and with signals from 
strongholds, and with native things and foreign, 

— but never to so strange a pipe did I see 
horsemen or footmen set forth, or ship by sign 
of land or star. 

We were going along with the ten demons. 
Ah, the fell company ! but in the church with 
the saints, and in the tavern with the gluttons. 
My attention was only on the pitch in order to 
see every condition of the pouch, and of the 
people that were burning in it. 

Like dolphins, when by the arching of their 

vv. 20-51] CANTO XXII 143 

back, they give a sign to the sailors to take heed 
for the safety of their vessel, so, now and then, 
to alleviate his pain, one of the sinners would 
show his back and hide it in less time than it 
lightens. And as at the edge of the water 
of a ditch the frogs lie with only their muzzle 
out, so that they conceal their feet and the rest 
of their bulk, so on every side were the sin- 
ners ; but as Barbariccia approached so did 
they draw back beneath the boiling. I saw, and 
still my heart shudders at it, one waiting, just 
as it happens that one frog stays and another 
jumps. And Graffiacane, who was nearest over 
against him, hooked him by his pitchy locks, 
and drew him up so that he seemed to me an 
otter. (I knew now the name of every one of 
them, I had so noted them when they were 
chosen, and afterwards when they called each 
other had listened how.) " O Rubicante, see 
thou set thy claws upon his back so thou flay 
him," shouted all the accursed ones together. 

And I : " My Master, contrive, if thou 
canst, to find out who is the luckless one come 
into the hands of his adversaries." My Leader 
drew up to his side, and asked him whence he 
was, and he replied : " 1 was born in the king- 
dom of Navarre ; my mother placed me in ser- 
vice of a lord, for she had borne me to a ribald, 
destroyer of himself and of his substance. After- 

144 HELL [vv. 52-75 

ward I was of the household of the good King 
Thibault ; ' there I set myself to practice bar- 
ratry, for which I pay reckoning in this heat." 
And Ciriatto, from whose mouth protruded 
on either side a tusk, as of a boar, made him 
feel how one of them rips. Among evil cats 
had the mouse come ; but Barbariccia clasped 
him in his arms, and said : " Stand off, while I 
clutch him," and turned his face to my Master. 
" Ask further," said he, " if thou desirest to 
know more from him, before another one undo 
him." The Leader : " Then, tell now of the 
other sinners ; knowest thou any one under the 
pitch who is Italian ? " And he : "I parted 
short while since from one who there beyond 
was a neighbor;^ would that with him I still 
were so covered that I should not fear claw or 
hook." And Libicocco said : " We have borne 
too much," and seized his arm with his grap- 
ple so that, tearing, he carried off a sinew of it. 
Draghignazzo, he too wished to give him a 
grip down at his legs, whereat their decurion 
turned round about with evil look.^ 

1. V. 52. Probably Thibault II., the brother-in-law of 
St. Louis, who accompanied him on his last disastrous cru- 
sade, and died on his way home in 1270. 

2. y. 6j. Not an Italian proper, but a neighbor from 

3. V. 75. Barbariccia is annoyed at the disregard of his 

vv. 76-96] CANTO XXII 145 

When they were a little quieted, my Leader, 
without delay, asked him who was still gaz- 
ing at his wound : " Who was he from whom 
thou sayst thou madest ill parting to come to 
shore ? " And he replied : "It was Friar 
Gomita, he of Gallura,'^ vessel of every fraud, 
who held the enemies of his lord in hand, and 
dealt so with them that each of them praises him 
for it. Money he took, and let them smoothly 
off, so he says ; and in his other offices besides 
he was no little barrator, but sovereign. With 
him frequents Don Michael Zanche of Logo- 
doro,5 and their tongues never feel tired in talk- 
ing of Sardinia. O me ! see ye that other who 
is grinning : I would say more, but I fear lest 
he is making ready to scratch my itch." And 
the grand Provost, turning to Farfarello, who 
was rolling his eyes as if to strike, said : " Get 
away there, wicked bird ! " 

injunction (verse 60), and turns with the sinner in his arms 
to secure him for the moment from attack. 

4. V. 82. Gallura, one of the four divisions of Sardinia, 
called judicatures, made by the Pisans, after their conquest of 
the island. The lord of Gomita was the noble Judge Nino, 
whom Dante meets in Purgatory, Canto viii. 53. Friar 
Gomita was hung for his frauds. 

5. V. 89. Logodoro was another of the judicatures of 
Sardinia. Don Michael Zanche was a noted man, but of 
his special sins little or nothing has been recorded by the 
chroniclers. He was murdered about i 290, by his son-in- 
law Branca d' Oria ; see Canto xxxiii. 134-147. 

146 HELL [vv. 97-119 

" If ye wish to see or to hear Tuscans or 
Lombards," thereon began again the frightened 
one, " I will make some of them come ; but let 
the Malebranche stand a little withdrawn, so 
that they may not be afraid of their vengeance, 
and I, sitting in this very place, for one that I 
am, will make seven of them come, when I shall 
whistle, as is our wont to do whenever one of 
us sets himself outside." Cagnazzo at this 
speech raised his muzzle, shaking his head, and 
said : " Hear the cunning trick he has devised 
for casting himself below ! " Whereon he who 
had snares in great plenty answered : " Too 
cunning am I when I procure for my own com- 
panions greater sorrow." Alichino held not in, 
and, in opposition to the others, said to him : 
" If thou plunge, I will not come after thee 
at a gallop, but I will beat my wings above the 
pitch ; let the ridge be left, and let the bank be 
a screen, to see if thou alone availest more than 
we." ^ 

O thou that readest, thou shalt hear a new 
sport ! Each turned his eyes to the other side, 

6. V. 1 17. We must suppose that the boiling pitch was 
bordered on either side by a rocky ridge, on which the demons, 
the poets, and the sinner were standing, and that there was 
a space between the ridge and the wall of the bolgia, into 
which, if they descended, they could not be seen from the 

vv. 120-146] CANTO XXII 147 

he first who had been most averse to doing 
this.7 The Navarrese chose his time well, 
planted his feet firmly on the ground, and in 
an instant leaped, and from their purpose freed 
himself. At this, each of them was stung with 
his fault, but he most who was the cause of 
the loss ; wherefore he started and cried out : 
" Thou art caught." But it availed little, for 
wings could not outstrip fear. The one went 
under, and the other, flying, turned his breast 
upward. Not otherwise the wild duck on a 
sudden dives under when the falcon comes near, 
and he returns up vexed and baffled. Calca- 
brina, angry at the flout, flying kept behind 
him,^ charmed that the sinner should escape, 
that he might have a scuffle ; and when the bar- 
rator had disappeared he at once turned his 
claws upon his companion, and grappled with 
him above the ditch. But the other was in- 
deed a full-grown sparrowhawk for clawing him 
well, and both of them fell into the middle of 
the boiling pool. The heat was a sudden un- 
grappler ; but yet there was no rising from it, 
they had their wings so beglued. Barbariccia, 
in distress with the others of his troop, made 
four of them fly to the other side with all their 

7. V. 120. Each about to descend the bank turned his 
back to the pitch, Cagnazzo first. 

8. V. 134. Alichino. 

148 HELL [vv. 147-151 

forks, and very swiftly, on this side and that, 
they descended to their posts, and stretched 
their hooks toward the behmed ones, who were 
already cooked within the crust : and we left 
them thus embroiled. 


Eighth Circle. — Escape from the fifth pouch. — The 
sixth pouch : hypocrites^ in cloaks of gilded lead. — fovial 
Friars, — Caiaphas. — Annas. — Frate Catalano. 

Silent, alone, and without company, we were 
going on, one before, the other behind, as Mi- 
nor friars go along the way. My thought was 
turned by the present brawl upon the fable of 
Aesop, in which he told of the frog and the 
mouse ; for now and this instant are not more 
alike than the one is to the other, if beginning 
and end be rightly coupled by the attentive 
mind.' And as one thought bursts out from 
another, so then from that was born another 

I. V. 9. This fable is not among those now ascribed to 
Aesop, but was included in a collection which went under 
his name, and was in common use as a school-book. Ac- 
cording to the fable, the frog deceitfully induced the mouse, 
attached by a string to his leg, to trust himself to the water. 
The mouse was drowned, and a kite, seeing the body float- 
ing on the surface, seized it, and with it the frog still tied to 
it, and swallowed both. The application to the demons is, 
that Calcabrina, intending harm to Alichino, is involved 
with him in tribulation. 

150 HELL [vv. 12-41 

which made my first fear double. I was think- 
ing in this wise : These through us have been 
put to scorn, and with such harm and trick as 
I beheve must vex them greatly ; if anger be 
added to ill-will, they will come after us more 
merciless than the dog to the hare which he 
snaps up. 

Already I was feeling my hair all bristling 
with fear, and was backwards intent, when I 
said : " Master, if thou dost not speedily con- 
ceal thyself and me, I am afraid of the Male- 
branche ; we have them already after us ; I so 
imagine them that I already feel them." And 
he : " If I were of leaded glass,^ I should not 
draw to me thine outward image more quickly 
than I receive thine inward. Even now came 
thy thoughts among mine, with like action and 
like look, so that of both I made one sole 
counsel. If it be that the right bank lies so 
that we can descend into the next pouch, we 
shall escape from the imagined chase." 

He had not yet finished reporting this coun- 
sel, when I saw them coming with wings spread, 
not very far oflT, with will to take us. My 
Leader on a sudden took me, as a mother who 
is wakened by the noise, and sees the kindled 
flames close to her, who takes her son and flies, 
and, having more care of him than of herself, 
2. V. 25. A mirror. 

vv. 42-68] CANTO XXIII 151 

stays not so long as only to put on a shift : and 
down from the ridge of the hard bank, he gave 
himself supine to the sloping rock that closes 
one of the sides of the next pouch. Never 
ran water so swiftly through a duct, to turn the 
wheel of a land-mill, when it approaches near- 
est to the paddles, as my Master over that 
border, bearing me along upon his breast as his 
son and not as a companion. Hardly had his 
feet reached the bed of the depth below, when 
they were on the ridge right over us ; but here 
there was no fear, for the high Providence that 
willed to set them as ministers of the fifth ditch 
deprived them all of power of departing thence. 

There below we found a painted people who 
were going round with very slow steps, weep- 
ing, and in their semblance weary and subdued. 
They had cloaks, with hoods lowered before 
their eyes, fashioned of the cut which is made 
for the monks in Cologne. Outwardly they 
are gilded, so that it dazzles, but within all lead, 
and so heavy that those Frederick used to have 
put on were of straw.^ O mantle wearisome for 
eternity ! 

We turned, still ever to the left hand, along 

3. V. 66. Literally, ** that Frederick put them on of 
straw.'* The leaden cloaks which the Emperor Frederick 
II. caused to be put on criminals, who were then burned to 
death, were light as straw in comparison with these. 

152 HELL [vv. 69-91 

with them, intent on their sad plaint. But be- 
cause of the weight, that tired folk were coming 
so slowly that we had fresh company at every 
movement of the haunch. Wherefore I to my 
Leader : " Contrive to find some one who may 
be known by deed or name, and while thus 
going move thine eyes around." And one who 
heard the Tuscan speech cried out behind us : 
" Stay your feet, ye who run thus through the 
dusky air ; perchance thou shalt have from me 
that which thou askest." Whereon my Leader 
turned and said : " Wait, and then proceed 
according to his pace.'* I stopped, and saw 
two show, by their look, great haste of mind to 
be with me, but their load and the narrow way 
retarded them. 

When they had come up, awhile, with eye 
askance,'^ they gazed at me without speaking a 
word ; then they turned to one another, and said 
one to the other : " This one seems alive by 
the action of his throat ; and if they are dead, 
by what privilege do they go uncovered by the 
heavy stole ? *' Then they said to me : " O 
Tuscan, who to the college ^ of the wretched 

4. V. 85. They could not raise their heads for a straight 

5 . V. 9 1 . That is, to the company, — so Benedick, in 
Mucb Ado about Nothing, speaks of "a college of wit- 

vv. 92-102] CANTO XXIII 153 

hypocrites art come, hold it not in disdain to tell 
who thou art." And I to them : " I was born 
and grew up on the fair river of Arno, at the 
great town, and I am in the body that I have 
always had. But who are ye, from whom such 
woe distils, as I see, down along your cheeks ? 
and what penalty is it that so glitters on you ? " 
And one of them replied to me : " The orange 
hoods are of lead so thick that the weights thus 
make their scales to creak.^ Jovial Friars^ 

6. V. 102. The sinners, so heavily laden that their 
heads are bent and tears fall from their eyes, are like over- 
loaded scales which creak with the weights put on them. 

7. V. 103. Brothers of the Military and Conventual 
Order of Santa Maria, established in 1261, with knightly 
vows and high intent. From the laxity of their rules and 
their free life the nickname of Frati Godentt, "Jovial Friars," 
was given to the members of the Order. 

After the battle of Montaperti, in 1260, the Ghibellines 
held the upper hand in Florence for more than five years. 
The defeat and death of Manfred early in 1 266, at the battle 
of Benevento, shook their power and revived the hopes of 
the Guelfs. As a measure of compromise, the Florentine 
Commune elected two podestas, one from each party ; the 
Guelf was Catalano de* Malavolti, the Ghibelline, Loderingo 
degli Andalo, both from Bologna. They were believed to 
have joined hands while in office for their own gain, and to 
have favored the reviving power of the Guelfs. In the trou- 
bles of the year in which they had power the houses of the 
Uberti, a powerful Ghibelline family, were burned ; these lay 
in the region of the city called the Gardingo, close to the 
Palazzo Vecchio. 

154 HELL [vv. 103--127 

were we, and Bolognese; I named Catalano 
and he Loderingo, and together taken by thy 
city, as one man alone is usually chosen, in 
order to preserve its peace : and we were such 
as still is apparent round about the Gardingo." 
I began : " O Friars, your ills " — but more I 
said not, for there struck my eye one crucified 
upon the ground with three stakes. When he 
saw me he writhed all over, blowing into his 
beard with sighs : and the Friar Catalano, who 
observed it, said to me : " That transfixed one, 
whom thou lookest at, counseled the Pharisees 
that it was expedient to put one man to torture 
for the people.^ Traverse and naked is he on 
the path, as thou seest, and he first must needs 
feel how much whoever passes weighs.^ And 
in like fashion his father-in-law '° is stretched in 
this ditch, and the others of that Council which 
for the Jews was seed of ill." Then I saw Vir- 
gil marvel " over him that was outstretched in 
a cross so vilely in the eternal exile. After- 
wards he addressed this speech to the Friar: 

8. V. 117. Caiaphas, who said: "It is expedient for 
us that one man should die for the people.'' John xi. 50. 

9. V. 1 20. The slowly moving, heavy sinners must all 
step on him as they pass over him. 

10. V. 121. Annas; John xviii. 13, 14, 24. 

11. v. 1 24. Virgil was unacquainted with the Gospel 

VV.128-148] CANTO XXIII 155 

" May it not displease you," if it be allowed 
you, to tell us if any opening lies on the right 
hand, whereby we two can go out hence with- 
out constraining any of the Black Angels to 
come to deliver us from this deep." He an- 
swered then : " Nearer than thou hopest is a 
rock that starts from the great encircling wall 
and spans all the savage valleys, save that at 
this one it is broken, and does not cover it. Ye 
will be able to mount up over the ruin that lies 
against the side, and heaps up at the bottom." 
My Leader stood a little while with bowed 
head, then said : " 111 did he who hooks the 
sinners yonder report the matter." '^ And the 
Friar : " Of old at Bologna I used to hear tell of 
vices enough of the devil, among which I heard 
that he is a liar, and the father of falsehood." 
Then my Leader went on, with great steps, dis- 
turbed a little with anger in his look; whereon I 
departed from the burdened ones, following the 
prints of the beloved feet. 

12, V. 128. Virgil addresses the Friar with the *' you,** 
not as an honorary designation, but because he speaks to both 
while addressing one. It is to be noted that the only hypo- 
crites individually designated in this canto are two who 
sinned against Florence, and two who sinned against Jesus. 

13. V. 141. Malacoda had told him (xxi. in) that he 
would find a bridge not far off by which to cross this sixth 


Eighth Circle, The poets climb from the sixth pouch. 
— Seventh pouchy filled with serpents, by which thieves 
are tormented, — Vanni Fucci, — Prophecy of calamity to 

In that part of the young year when the sun 
tempers his locks beneath Aquarius/ and now 
the nights are passing to the South/ when the 
hoar frost copies on the ground the image of 
her white sister/ but the temper of her pen lasts 
little while, the rustic, whose provision fails, 
gets up and looks, and sees the plain all white, 
whereat he smites his thigh, returns indoors, 
and grumbles to and fro, like the poor wretch 
who knows not what to do ; then goes out 
again and picks up hope, seeing the world to 

1 . V. 2. The sun enters the sign of Aquarius about the 
twentieth of January. 

2. V. 3. As the sun in his apparent motion comes north- 
ward, the night, understood as the point of the heavens 
opposite to the sun, moves southward, and with the lengthen- 
ing day the nights shorten. 

3. V. 5. The frost copies the look of the snow, but her 
pen soon loses its make, that is, the white frost soon vanishes. 

vv. 13-41] CANTO XXIV 157 

have changed face in short while, and takes his 
crook and drives forth his sheep to pasture. 
Thus my Master made me dismayed, when I 
saw his brow so disturbed, and thus speedily 
arrived the plaster for the hurt. For when we 
came to the ruined bridge, the Leader turned 
to me with that sweet look which I first saw at 
the foot of the mount.^ After taking some 
counsel with himself, looking first well at the 
ruin, he opened his arms, and laid hold of me. 
And as one who acts and considers, and seems 
always to provide in advance, so, lifting me up 
toward the top of a great rock, he was taking 
note of another splinter, saying : " Grapple next 
on that, but try first if it be such that it can 
support thee." It was no way for one clothed 
in a cloak, for we with difficulty, he light and I 
pushed up, could mount from jag to jag. And 
had it not been that on that precinct ^ the bank 
was shorter than on the other side, I do not 
know about him, but I should have been com- 
pletely vanquished. But because all Malebolge 
slopes toward the opening of the lowest well, 
the site of each valley imports that one side is 
higher than the other.^ We came, however, at 

4. V. 21. The hill of the first canto, at the foot of 
which Virgil had appeared to Dante. 

5. V. 34. The inner boundary wall of the bolgia. 

6. V. 40. Literally, *' that one side rises and the other 

158 HELL [vv. 42-64 

length, to the point where the last stone is 
broken ofF.^ The breath was so milked from 
my lungs when I was up that. I could no farther, 
nay, sat me down on first arrival. 

"Henceforth it behoves thee thus ^ to put 
off sloth," said the Master, " for, sitting upon 
down or under quilts, one comes not to fame, 
without which he who consumes his life leaves 
such vestige of himself on earth as smoke in air, 
or the foam on water : and therefore rise up, 
conquer thy panting with the soul that wins 
every battle, if it be not weighed down by its 
heavy body. A longer stairway needs must be 
ascended : it is not enough to have departed 
from these ; ^ if thou understandest me, now act 
so that it avail thee." Then I rose up, show- 
ing myself better furnished with breath than I 
felt, and said : " Go on, for I am strong and 

Up along the crag we took the way, which 
was rugged, narrow, and difficult, and far steeper 
than the one before. I was going along speak- 

descends." The level of the whole circle slopes toward the 
central deep, so that the inner side of each bolgia is of less 
height than the outer. 

7. V. 42. The last stone of the shattered bridge. 

8. V. 46. By strenuous effort. 

9. V. 56. It is not enough to leave sin behind ; steady 
and hard effort is required to attain virtue. 

vv. 64-88] CANTO XXIV 159 

ing in order not to seem exhausted, when a 
voice, ill suited for forming words, came out 
from the next ditch. I know not what it said, 
though I was already upon the back of the 
arch which crosses here ; but he who was speak- 
ing seemed moved to anger. I had turned 
downwards, but my living eyes could not go 
to the bottom, through the darkness : where- 
fore I said : " Master, see that thou get to the 
next girth, and let us descend the wall,'° for 
as from this place I hear and do not under- 
stand, so I look down and shape out nothing." 
" Other reply," he said, " I give thee not than 
the doing, for the becoming request ought to 
be followed by the deed in silence." 

We descended the bridge at its head, where 
it is joined with the eighth bank, and then the 
pouch was apparent to me. And I saw within 
it a terrible crowd of serpents," and of such 
strange kind that the memory still curdles my 
blood. Let Libya with her sand vaunt herself 
no more ; for though she bring forth chelydri, 
jaculi, and phareae, and cenchri with amphis- 
boena," she never, with all Ethiopia, nor with 

10. V. 73. The inner wall of the bolgia. 

11. V. 82. 

" They saw ... a crowd 

Of ugly serpents 5 horror on them fell." 

Par. Losty X. 540. 

12. V. 87. These names of the various kinds of snakes 

i6o HELL [vv. 89-114 

the land that lies on the Red Sea, showed 
either so many or so malignant plagues. 

Amid this cruel and most dismal swarm were 
running people naked and terrified, without 
hope of hole or heliotrope. '^ They had their 
hands tied behind with serpents, which fixed 
their tail and their head through the loins, and 
were twisted up in front. 

And lo ! at one, who was near our bank, 
darted a serpent that transfixed him there where 
the neck is knotted to the shoulders. Nor 
nor / was ever so quickly written as he took fire 
and burnt, and needs must become all ashes as 
he fell ; and when he was thus destroyed on the 
ground, the dust drew together of itself, and in 
an instant into that same one returned. Thus 
by the great sages it is affirmed that the Phoe- 
nix dies, and then is born again when she draws 
nigh to her five-hundredth year. In her life 
she feeds not on herb or grain, but only on 
tears of incense and amomum ; and nard and 
myrrh are her last winding-sheet. 

And as he who falls, and knows not how, by 
force of a demon that drags him to ground, or 
of other obstruction '^ that binds the man when 

are derived from Lucan's description of the plague of Libya. 
P bars alia, ix. 700 seqq, 

^3* V. 93. A precious stone, of green color, spotted 
with red, supposed to make its wearer invisible. 

14. V. 114. Obstruction of "the vital spirits,'* "the 

vv. 115-130] CANTO XXIV 161 

he rises and gazes around him, all bewildered 
by the great anguish that he has suffered, and 
as he looks, sighs ; such was that sinner after he 
had risen. Oh power of God ! how severe it is, 
that showers down such blows for vengeance ! 

My Leader then asked him who he was ; 
whereon he answered : " I rained down from 
Tuscany short time ago into this fell gullet. 
Bestial life, and not human, pleased me, like a 
mule that I was.'^ I am Vanni Fucci, beast, 
and Pistoia was my fitting den." And I to my 
Leader : " Tell him not to slip away, and ask 
what sin thrust him down here, for I have seen 
him a man of blood and of rages." And the 
sinner who heard did not dissemble, but directed 

closing of the passages,** says Buti, ''between the heart and 
the bram.** 

15. V. 1 25. That is, a bastard ; he was the natural son 
of one of the Lazzari, a noble family of Pistoia, and grew up 
to be, perhaps, the most notorious villain in the city, ** vir 
sceleratissimus et ad omne facinus audacissimus.'* In 1293, 
he with two companions broke into the Sacristy of San 
Jacopo, in the church of San Zeno at Pistoia. This sacristy 
was famous for the splendor of its adornments, and the wealth 
in its treasury. The thieves carried off what silver and jewels 
they could lay hands on, and, having concealed their booty, 
remained undiscovered for many months. At length, when 
an innocent man was about to be punished for the crime, 
Vanni Fucci revealed the name of the receiver of the plun- 
der, who was hanged for it, while he himself escaped punish- 

i62 HELL [vv. 131-151 

toward me his mind and his face, and painted 
himself with dismal shame. Then he said : 
"It grieves me more, that thou hast caught me 
in the misery where thou seest me, than when I 
was taken from the other life. I cannot refuse 
that which thou askest. I am put so far down 
because I was the thief in the sacristy with the 
fair adornments, and it was once falsely ascribed 
to another. But in order that thou enjoy not 
this sight, if ever thou shalt be forth of these 
dark places, open thine ears to my announce- 
ment, and hear : Pistoia first strips herself of 
Blacks, then Florence renovates her people and 
her fashions. Mars draws a vapor from Val di 
Magra which is wrapt in turbid clouds, and 
with impetuous and bitter storm there shall be 
fighting on the Pescian plain, whence it shall 
suddenly rend the mist, so that every White 
shall be smitten by it. And this I have said in 
order that it may grieve thee." '^ 

16. V. 151. The dark imagery of these verses does not 
admit of complete interpretation. It may be partially ex- 
plained as follows : In May, 1301, "Pistoia strips herself 
of the Blacks ' * by expelling from her confines the members 
of the Black party ; many of them were received in Florence, 
and, in November of the same year, the Florentine Blacks, 
thus reinforced, and supported by Charles of Valois who 
had entered Florence as a pacificator, drove the Priors of the 
White party from office, chose new Priors of their own party, 
and in the following January succeeded in driving from the 


city the great body of the Whites, of whom Dante was one. 
This is the renovation by Florence of her people and fashions. 
The hghtning- vapor which Mars drew from Val di Magra 
was Moruello Malaspina, who was captain of the forces of 
the Blacks ; for years there were turbid clouds of confusion, 
and much desultory fighting, the Whites suffering defeat after 
defeat. The Pescian plain (Campo Piceno) probably de- 
notes a district near Pistoia, but the locality cannot be deter- 


Eighth Circle : seventh pouch : fraudulent thieves. — 
Cacus, — Agnello Brunelleschi and others. 

At the end of his words the thief raised his 
hands with both the figs/ crying, " Take that, 
God ! for at Thee I square them." From that 
time forth the serpents were my friends, for then 
one coiled about his neck, as if it said : " I will 
not have thee say more ; " and another about his 
arms and bound him up anew,^ clinching itself 
so in front that he could not give a shake with 
them. Ah Pistoia ! Pistoia ! why dost thou not 
decree to make ashes of thyself, so that thou 
last no longer, since in evil-doing thou dost sur- 
pass thine own seed?' Through all the dark 
circles of Hell I saw no spirit so arrogant to- 
ward God, not even that one who fell down from 

1. V. 2. A coarse gesture of contemptuous defiance, 
made by thrusting out the fist with the thumb between the 
fore and middle finger. 

2. V. 7. See Canto xxiv. 94. 

3. V. 12. According to tradition, the first settlers of 
Pistoia, its seed, were the remnants of Catiline's forces after 
his defeat and death, b. c. 62. 

vv. 16-36] CANTO XXV 165 

the walls at Thebes/ He fled away, and spoke 
not a word more. 

And I saw a Centaur full of rage come cry- 
ing out : " Where is he, where is the obdurate 
one ? " I do not believe Maremma ^ has so 
many snakes as he had upon his croup up to 
where our semblance begins. On his shoul- 
ders, behind the nape, a dragon with open 
wings was lying upon him, which sets on fire 
whomsoever it encounters. My Master said : 
" This is Cacus, who beneath the rock of 
Mount Aventine often made a lake of blood. 
He goes not on one road with his brothers, be- 
cause of the fraudulent theft he committed of 
the great herd that he had in his neighborhood ; 
for which his crooked deeds ceased under the 
club of Hercules, who perhaps dealt him a 
hundred blows with it, and he felt not ten of 
them." ' 

While he was thus speaking, and that one 
had run by, lo ! three spirits came below us, of 

4. V. 15. Capaneus ; see Canto xiv. 46-72. 

5. V. 19. The desolate and unwholesome district of Tus- 
cany, bordering the sea. 

6. V. 33. Cacus, according to Virgil, AeneidyVm. 193 
seqq,., was not a centaur, but a half- human fire-breathing mon- 
ster. He stole part of the herd of Geryon, which Hercules, 
having slain their master, was driving through Italy, and to 
conceal his theft dragged the catde by their tails into his cave, 
but their hiding-place was revealed by their bellowing. 

i66 HELL [vv. 37-63 

whom neither I nor my Leader was aware till 
when they cded out : " Who are ye ? " by which 
our story was stopped, and we then gave heed 
only to them. I did not know them, but it hap- 
pened, as it usually happens by some chance, 
that one had occasion to name another, saying : 
" Where can Cianfa ^ have stayed ? " Where- 
fore I, in order that my Leader might be atten- 
tive, put my finger upward from my chin to 
my nose. 

If, Reader, thou art now slow to credit that 
which I shall tell, it will be no marvel, for I 
who saw it hardly admit it to myself. As I was 
holding my eyebrows raised upon them, lo ! a 
serpent with six feet darts in front of one, and 
takes hold all over him. With its middle feet 
it clasped his paunch, and with its fore feet 
took his arms, then struck its teeth in one and 
the other cheek ; its hind feet it spread out 
upon his thighs, and put its tail between them, 
and stretched it up behind along the reins. Ivy 
was never so bearded to a tree, as the horrible 
beast entwined its own through the other's 
limbs. Then they stuck together as if they had 
been of hot wax, and mingled their color ; nei- 
ther the one nor the other seemed now that 
which it had been ; even as in advance of the 

7. V. 43. A sinner unknown but for this mention of 
him, but said to have been a member of the Donati family. 

vv. 64-88] CANTO XXV 167 

flame, a dark color proceeds up along the paper 
which is not yet black, and the white dies away. 
The other two were looking on, and each cried : 
" O me ! Agnel,^ how thou changest ! See, now 
thou art neither two nor one ! " Now were the 
two heads become one, when there appeared to 
us two countenances mixed in one face wherein 
the two were lost. The two arms were made 
of four strips ; ^ the thighs with the legs, the 
belly and the chest became members that were 
never seen before. Every original aspect was 
there canceled ; two and none the perverted 
image appeared, and such it went away with 
slow step. 

As the lizard under the great scourge of the 
dog-days, changing from hedge to hedge, seems 
a lightning-flash, if it cross the way, so seemed, 
coming toward the bellies of the two others, a 
little fiery serpent, livid, and black as a pepper 
corn. And it transfixed in one of them that 
part whereat our nourishment is first taken,'° 
then fell down stretched out before him. The 
transfixed one gazed at it, but said nothing; 

8. V. 68. According to many of the early commenta- 
tors this was one Agnello de* Brunelleschi, of whom nothing 
is known but that he was a thief. 

9. V. 73. The two fore feet of the dragon and the two 
arms of the man were melted into two strange arms. 

10. V. 86. The navel. 

i68 HELL [vv. 89-111 

nay, with feet fixed, he began to yawn, just as if 
sleep or fever had assailed him. He looked at 
the serpent, and that at him ; one through the 
wound, the other through its mouth, were 
smoking fiercely, and the smoke commingled. 
Let Lucan henceforth be silent, where he tells 
of the wretched Sabellus and of Nasidius," and 
let him wait to hear that which now is related. 
Let Ovid be silent concerning Cadmus and 
Arethusa," for if, poetizing, he converts him 
into a serpent and her into a fountain, I grudge 
it not to him ; for never did he transmute two 
natures front to front, so that both the forms 
were prompt to exchange their matter. They 
responded to one another in such wise, that 
the serpent cleft his tail into a fork, and the 
wounded one drew his feet together.'^ The 
legs and the thighs along with them so stuck 
together, that in short while the juncture made 
no mark that was apparent. The cleft tail was 
taking on the shape that the other was losing,'-* 
and its skin was becoming soft, and that of the 

11. V. 95, Sabellus, bitten by a little serpent in the 
Libyan desert, melts away "like snow under a hot South 
wind,'* and Nasidius, stung by a snake of another kind, 
swells until he bursts his armor. Pharsalia ix. 763 seqq. 

12. V. 97. Metam. iv. 575 seqq., and v. 507 seqq, 

13. V. 105. To form a tail. 

14. V. 1 10. The shape of legs. 

vv. II2-I35] CANTO XXV 169 

other hard. I saw the arms entering through 
the armpits, and the two feet of the beast, which 
were short, lengthening out in proportion as 
the arms were shortening. Then the hinder 
feet, twisted together, became the member that 
man conceals, and the wretch from his had two 
stretched forth. '^ 

While the smoke veils the one and the other 
with a new color, and generates hair on the one 
part, and strips it from the other, the one rose 
up, and the other fell down, not however turn- 
ing aside their pitiless lights,'^ beneath which 
each was changing his muzzle. He who was 
erect '^ drew his in toward the temples, and, 
from the too much material that came in there, 
the ears issued on the smooth cheeks ; that 
which did not run back and was retained, of its 
superfluity made a nose for the face, and thick- 
ened the lips so much as was needful. He that 
was lying down drives his muzzle forward, and 
draws backward his ears into his head, as the 
snail does its horns. And his tongue, which 
before was united and fit for speech, cleaves it- 
self, and the forked one of the other closes up ; 

15. V. 1 17. The member of the wretched one is trans- 
formed into two hind feet. 

16. V. 122. Glaring steadily at each other. 

17. V. I 24. He who had been the serpent, now chan- 
ging back to human form. 

lyo HELL [vv. 136-151 

and the smoke stops. The soul that had be- 
come a brute fled hissing along the valley, and 
the other, speaking, sputters behind it. Then 
he turned on him his new shoulders, and said 
to the third,'^ " I want that Buoso "^ should run, 
as I have done, on his belly along this path." 

Thus I saw the seventh ballast ^° change and 
transmute, and here let the novelty be my ex- 
cuse, if my pen straggle" a little. And al- 
though my eyes were somewhat confused, and 
my mind bewildered, those could not flee away 
so covertly but that I clearly distinguished 
Puccio Sciancato : " and he it was who alone, of 
the three companions that came first, was not 
changed ; the other ^^ was he whom thou, Ga- 
ville, weepest. 

18. V. 139. Turning his back to the soul changed into 
the serpent that was fleeing, he speaks to the third of the 
three spirits, the only one unchanged. 

19. V. 140. Buoso, of whom nothing is known, is he 
who has become a snake. 

20. V. 1 42. The ballast, — the sinners in the seventh 

21. V. 144. Run into unusual detail. 

22. V. 148. This halting (^sciancato) Puccio is said to 
have been a member of the Galigai family ; of his misdeeds 
nothing is recorded. 

23. V. 151. One Francesco Guercio de' Cavalcanti, 
who was slain by men of the village of Gaville, in Valdarno, 
which mourns for the cruel vengeance taken for his death. 

The three who had first come were the three Florentine 


thieves, Agnello, Buoso, and Puccio. Cianfa de' Donati had 
then appeared as the serpent with six feet, and had been incor- 
porated with Agnello. Lastly came Guercio (the Squinter) 
de' Cavalcanti as the fiery little snake, and exchanged form 
with Buoso. 


Eighth Circle : eighth pouch : fraudulent counselors, 
— Ulysses and Diomed. 

RejoIce, Florence, since thou art so great 
that thou beatest thy wings over sea and land, 
and thy name is spread through Hell ! Among 
the thieves I found five such, thy citizens, 
whereat shame comes to me, and thou dost not 
mount unto great honor thereby. But, if near 
the morning one dreams of the truth, thou shalt 
feel within short time what Prato, as well as 
others, craves for thee.' And if already it were, 
it would not be too soon. So were it ! since 
surely it must be; for it will weigh the more 
on me as the more I age. 

We departed thence, and, up along the stairs 
which the bourns ^ had before made for our de- 
scent, my Leader remounted and drew me. And 
pursuing the solitary way among the fragments 

1. V. 9. If that which I foresee is not a vain dream, the 
calamities which thine enemies, even thy nearest neighbors, 
crave for thee will soon be felt. 

2. V. 14. The projections of the rocky wall. 

vv. 17-37] CANTO XXVI 173 

and the rocks of the craggy bridge, the foot 
sped not without the hand. I sorrowed then, 
and now I sorrow again when I direct my mind 
to what I saw ; and I curb my genius more 
than I am wont, that it may not run unless 
virtue guide it ; so that if a good star, or better 
thing, have given me the good, I may not 
grudge it to myself.^ 

As many as the fireflies which, in the season 
when he that brightens the world keeps his 
face least hidden from us, the rustic, who is 
resting on the hillside what time the fly yields 
to the gnat,^ sees down in the valley, perhaps 
there where he makes his vintage and ploughs, 
— with so many flames all the eighth pit was 
gleaming, as I perceived so soon as I was there 
where the bottom became apparent. And as 
he ^ who was avenged by the bears saw the cha- 
riot of Elijah at its departure, when the horses 
rose erect to heaven, — for he could not so fol- 

3. V. 24. "That I may not grudge it to myself," 
that is, that I may not by my own fault deprive myself of it. 
The sight which grieved the poet was that of men distin- 
guished for their natural gifts who, by misuse of them, had 
brought eternal condemnation on themselves. It turns his 
thought on the risks attending the use of his own genius. 

4. V. 28. That is, in the summer twihght, when the 
flies, which have been busy through the day, give place to 
the gnats which trouble the evening. 

5. V. 34. Elisha. 2 Kings ii. 9-24. 

174 HELL . [vv. 38-59 

low it with his eyes as to see aught save the flame 
alone, like a little cloud, mounting upward, — 
thus each of those flames was moving through 
the gulley of the ditch, for not one shows its 
theft, and every flame steals away a sinner.^ 

I was standing on the bridge, risen up to 
look, so that, if I had not taken hold of a 
rock, I should have fallen below without being 
pushed. And my Leader, who saw me thus 
intent, said : " Within these fires are the spir- 
its ; each is swathed by that wherewith he is 
burnt." " My Master," I replied, " through 
hearing thee am I more certain, but already I 
deemed that it was so, and already I wished to 
say to thee : Who is in that fire which comes 
so divided at its top that it seems to rise from 
the pyre on which Eteocles was put with his 
brother ? " ^ He answered me : " Therewithin 
Ulysses and Diomed are tormented, and thus 
they go together in their punishment, as in their 
wrath.^ And within their flame they groan for 
the ambush of the horse which made the gate 

6. V. 42. Within each flame a sinner was concealed. 

7. V. 54. Eteocles and Polynices, sons of Oedipus and 
Jocasta, who, contending at the siege of Thebes, slew each 
other. Such was their mutual hate that, when their bodies 
were burned on the same funeral pile, the flames divided in 
two. Statins, Thebaid, xii. 431-2. 

8. V. 57. Against the Trojans, 

vv. 60-75] CANTO XXVI 175 

whence the noble seed of the Romans issued 
forth ; within it they lament the artifice where- 
by the dead Deidamia still mourns for Achil- 
les, and there they bear the penalty for the 
Palladium." ^ " If they have power to speak 
within those sparks," said I, " Master, much I 
pray thee, and repray, that my prayer avail a 
thousand, that thou make not to me denial of 
waiting till the horned flame come hither : thou 
seest that with desire I bend me toward it." 
And he to me : " Thy prayer is worthy of 
much praise, and therefore I accept it ; but mind 
that thy tongue restrain itself. Leave speech 
to me, for I have conceived that which thou 
wishest ; for, because they were Greeks, they 
would perhaps be disdainful of thy words." '° 

9. V. 63. It was through the stratagem of the wooden 
horse that Troy was destroyed, and Aeneas was compelled 
to lead forth his followers who became the seed of the Ro- 
mans. Deidamia was the daughter of Lycomedes, king in 
the island of Scyros, to whom Thetis committed her son 
Achilles disguised as a maiden, that he might not go to the 
siege of Troy. Deidamia became the mother of a son by 
Achilles, and when by the craft of Ulysses, accompanied by 
Diomed, Achilles was discovered and persuaded to go to 
Troy, she slew herself. The story is told in full by Statius 
in his Achilleis. The Palladium was the image of Athena, 
on which the safety of Troy depended, and which was stolen 
by the two heroes. Aeneid, \\. 163-170. 

10. V. 75. The ancient heroes might be averse to talk- 
ing with a common man of the strange modern world. 

176 HELL , [vv. 76-104 

When the flame had come there where it 
seemed to my Leader time and place, I heard 
him speak to it in this form : " O ye, who are 
two within one fire, if I deserved of you while 
I lived, if I deserved of you much or little, 
when in the world I wrote my lofty verses, 
move not, but let one of you tell, whither, being 
lost, he went away to die." The greater horn 
of the ancient flame began to wag, murmur- 
ing, even as a flame that the wind wearies. 
Then waving its tip to and fro, as if it were the 
tongue that spoke, it cast forth a voice, and 
said : — 

" When I departed from Circe, who had de- 
tained me more than a year there near to Gaeta, 
before Aeneas had so named it," neither fond- 
ness for my son, nor piety for my old father, 
nor the due love which should have made Pe- 
nelope glad, could overcome within me the 
ardor which I had to become experienced of 
the world, and of the vices of men, and of their 
virtue. But I put forth on the deep, open sea, 
with one vessel only, and with that little com- 
pany by which I had not been deserted. I saw 
one shore and the other '^ as far as Spain, as far 
as Morocco and the island of Sardinia, and the 

11. V. 93. In memory of his nurse Caieta, who had 
died there. Aeneid, y\\, 1-4. 

12. V. 103. Of the Mediterranean. 

vv. 105-127] CANTO XXVI 177 

others which that sea bathes round about. I 
and my companions were old and slow when 
we came to that narrow strait where Hercules 
set up his bounds, to the end that man should 
not put out beyond.'^ On the right hand I 
left Seville, on the other I had already left 
Ceuta. ^ O brothers,' I said, ' who through a 
hundred thousand perils have reached the West, 
to this so brief vigil of your senses which re- 
mains wish not to deny the experience, follow- 
ing the sun, of the world that has no people. 
Consider your origin ; ye were not made to live 
as brutes, but to pursue virtue and knowledge.* 
With this little speech I made my companions 
so keen for the voyage that hardly afterwards 
could I have held them back. And turning 
our stern to the morning, with our oars we 
made wings for the mad flight, always gaining 
on the left hand side.'^ The night saw now all 

13. V. 109. Piii oltre non ; the famous Ne plus ultra, 
adopted by Charles V. as his motto, with the pillars of Her- 
cules for an emblem. 

14. V. 126. In Dante's scheme of the Earth the south- 
ern hemisphere was a vast expanse of water, in which the 
only land was the Mountain of Purgatory (see xxxiv. 122— 
126), the antipodes of Jerusalem (^Purg. iv. 68-71). The 
course of Ulysses and his companions after passing through 
the Pillars of Hercules was to the southeast, ** always gaining 
on the left hand,'' until, having sailed a distance eastward, 
corresponding to that which in the northern hemisphere lay 

178 HELL [vv. 128-142 

the stars of the other pole, and ours so low that 
it rose not forth from the ocean floor. The 
light beneath the moon had been five times re- 
kindled and as many quenched/^ since we had 
entered on the passage of the deep, when there 
appeared to us a mountain dark in the dis- 
tance, and it seemed to me so high as I had 
never seen one.'^ We rejoiced, and soon it 
turned to lamentation, for from the new land a 
whirlwind rose and struck the fore part of the 
vessel. Three times it made her whirl with all 
the waters, the fourth it made her stern lift up 
and the prow go down, as pleased Another,'^ 
till the sea had closed over us." 

between the Pillars and the Holy City, they came in sight 
of the Mountain whose shore no man ever saw ** who after- 
wards had experience of return." Purg, i. 132. 

15. V. 130. Five changes of the moon. 

16. V. 135. *' The mount which rises highest from the 
wave.'* Par, xxvi. 139; Purg. iii. 15. 

17. v. 141. God, whose name is not spoken by any 
sinner in Hell save, in the preceding canto (v. 3), by Vanni 
Fucci in blasphemy. 


Eighth Circle : eighth pouch : fraudulent counselors. — 
Guido da Montefeltro, 

The flame was already erect and quiet, by 
reason of not speaking more, and already was 
going from us, with the permission of the sweet 
poet, when another, which was coming behind 
it, made us turn our eyes to its tip, by a confused 
sound that was issuing forth from it. As the 
Sicilian bull,' which bellowed first with the plaint 
of him (and that was right) who had shaped it 
with his tools,* was wont to bellow with the voice 
of the sufferer, so that, although it was of brass, 
yet it appeared transfixed with the pain, so, 
through not at first having way or outlet from 
the fire, the disconsolate words were converted 
into its language.^ But when they had taken 

1. V. 7. The brazen bull of Phalaris, tyrant of Agri- 
gentum, made to hold criminals to be burned within it. Pe- 
rillus, its inventor, was the first to suffer. So these sinners 
are wrapped in the flames which their fraudulent counsels had 
prepared for them. 

2. V. 9. Literally, "tempered it with his file." 

3. V. 15. Sounding like the murmuring breath of the 

i8o HELL [vv. 16-36 

their course up through the point, giving to it 
in their passage that vibration which the tongue 
had given, we heard say : " O thou, to whom I 
direct my voice, and who just now wast speak- 
ing Lombard,* saying : ' Now go thy way, no 
more I urge thee : ' ^ although I may have arrived 
perhaps somewhat late, let it not irk thee to 
stop to speak with me ; behold, it irks not me, 
and I am burning. If thou art but now fallen 
into this blind world from that sweet Italian 
land whence I bring all my sin, tell me if the 
Romagnoles ^ have peace or war ; for I was of 
the mountains there, between Urbino and the 
chain from which Tiber is unlocked." ^ 

I was still downward attent and leaning over, 
when my Leader touched me on the side, say- 
ing, " Speak thou, this is an Italian.'' And I, 
who already had my answer ready, without de- 
lay began to speak : " O soul, that art hidden 

4. V. 20. Lombard, because the speech was that of 
Virgil, whose ** parents were Lombards," and he had used 
a word peculiar to the Lombard dialect. 

5 . V. 2 1 . The words used by Virgil in dismissing Ulysses. 

6. V. 28. The people of Romagna, the region lying 
between the Po, the Apennines, the Adriatic Sea, and the 
Reno. Purg. xiv. 92. 

7. V. 30. The spirit who speaks is that of the Ghibelline 
count, Guido da Montefeltro, the ablest and most famous man 
of war of his time in Italy. The district of Montefeltro lies 
at the foot of the Apennines, a little northwest of Urbino. 

vv. 37-48] CANTO XXVII i8i 

down there, thy Romagna is not, and never 
was, without war in the hearts of her tyrants, 
but no open war have I left there now. Ra- 
venna is as it has been for many years ; the 
eagle of Polenta^ is brooding there, so that he 
covers Cervia with his wings. The city that 
made some while ago the long struggle, and of 
the French a bloody heap, finds itself again be- 
neath the green paws.^ And the old mastiff and 
the new of Verrucchio," who made the ill dispo- 
sal of Montagna, make an auger of their teeth 
there where they are wont. The young lion of 

8. V. 41. Guido da Polenta had been lord of Ravenna 
since 1275. H^ ^^^ father of Francesca da Rimini, and a 
friend of Dante. His shield bore an eagle, half argent on a 
field azure, and half gules on a field or. Cervia is a small 
town on the coast, about twelve miles south of Ravenna. 

9. V. 45. Forii, where in 1282 Guido da Montefeltro 
had defeated, with great slaughter, a troop, largely of French 
soldiers, sent against him by Pope Martin III. It was now 
ruled by the Ordelaffi, whose shield, party per fess, bore on 
its upper half a green demi-lion on a gold field. 

10. V. 46. Verrucchio was a castle some ten miles south- 
west of Rimini, which had long been in possession of the 
Malatesta family, and gave to them their designation. *« The 
old mastiff and the new " were Malatesta de' Malatesti and 
his son Malatestino, lords of Rimini. In 1295 they had 
treacherously overpowered and murdered Montagna de' Par- 
citati, the head of the Ghibellines in the city, and they ruled 
there as tyrants, sucking the blood of their subjects. They 
were respectively father and half-brother of the husband and 
of the lover of Francesca da Rimini. 

1 82 HELL [vv. 49-68 

the white lair," who changes side from summer 
to winter, rules the cities of Lamone and of San- 
terno. And she " whose flank the Savio bathes 
lives between tyranny and a free state, even 
as she sits between the plain and the mountain. 
Now I pray thee that thou tell us who thou 
art ; be not harder than another has been,'^ so 
may thy name hold front in the world." 

After the fire had roared for a while accord- 
ing to its fashion, the sharp point moved to and 
fro, and then gave forth this breath : " If I 
believed that my reply were to a person who 
should ever return to the world, this flame 
would stand without more quiverings ; but in- 
asmuch as, if I hear truth, never did any one 
return alive from this depth, I answer thee with- 
out fear of infamy. 

" I was a man of arms, and then I was a cor- 
delier,'* trusting, thus girt, to make amends ; 

11. V. 50. This is Maghinardo de* Pagani da Susinana, 
who bore on his shield a blue lion on a white field. He 
was a Ghibelline in Romagna, and a Guelf with the Floren- 
tines, says Villani. "The city of Lamone'* is Faenza, near 
the river Lamone, and the city of Santemo is Imola, by 
which the Santerno runs. 

12. V. 52. The city of Cesena. 

13. V. 56. Refuse not to answer me as I have an- 
swered thee. 

14. V. 67. In 1296 Guido, past seventy years old, 
entered the Franciscan Order, girding himself with its cord. 
He died in i 298 at the convent at Assisi. 

vv. 69-90] CANTO XXVII 183 

and surely my trust had come full but for the 
Great Priest/^ whom ill befall! who set me 
back into my first sins ; and how and wherefore, 
I will that thou hear from me. While I was 
that shape of bone and flesh which my mother 
gave me, my works were not leonine, but of 
the fox. All wily practices and covert ways I 
knew, and I so plied their art that the sound 
went forth to the end of the earth. When I 
saw me arrived at that part of my age where 
every one ought to strike the sails and coil up 
the ropes, what before was pleasing to me then 
was irksome to me, and I yielded me '^ repent- 
ant and confessed. Ah wretched, alas ! and it 
would have availed. The Prince of the new 
Pharisees having war near the Lateran,'^ — and 
not with Saracens nor with Jews, for every 
enemy of his was Christian, and not one of them 
had been to conquer Acre, or a trafficker in 
the land of the Soldan,'^ — regarded in himself 

15. V. 70. Pope Boniface VIII. 

16. V. 83. I became a friar, giving myself to God. 

17. V. 86. With the Colonna family, whose stronghold 
was Palestrina, about twenty -four miles from Rome, on a 
spur of the Apennines visible from the Lateran hill. In 1297 
Boniface proclaimed a crusade against them, Palestrina was 
surrendered to him on false promises, and then demolished. 

18. V. 90. Not one had been a renegade, to help the 
Saracens at the siege and capture of Acre in i 29 1 , nor had 
traded with the Mussulmans, which was forbidden under 
penalty of excommunication. 

184 HELL [vv. 91-112 

neither his supreme office, nor his Holy Orders, 
nor in me that cord which was wont to make 
those girt with it more lean ; but as Constan- 
tine besought Sylvester within Soracte to cure 
his leprosy,'^ so this one besought me as master 
to cure the fever of his pride. He asked coun- 
sel of me, and I kept silence, because his words 
seemed drunken. And then he said to me : 
* Let not thy heart mistrust; from this time for- 
ward I absolve thee, and do thou teach me to 
act so that I may throw Palestrina to the ground. 
I can lock and unlock Heaven, as thou knowest ; 
wherefor the keys are two, which my predeces- 
sor held not dear.'^° Then his weighty argu- 
ments pushed me to where silence seemed to 
me the worst, and I said : ' Father, since thou 
dost wash me of that sin wherein I now must 
fall, long promise with short keeping will make 
thee triumph on the High Seat.* Francis ""' came 

19. V. 95. It was for this service that Constantine was 
supposed to have made Pope Sylvester I. (a. d. 314-355) 
<* the first rich Father" (Canto xix. 117), by the famous 
*' Donation " conveying to the Pope the sovereignty over 
Italy and the whole Western empire. Sylvester, to escape 
from Constantine' s previous persecution of the Christians, had 
taken refuge on Mount Soracte. 

20. V. 105. Celestine V., the immediate predecessor 
of Boniface, had renounced the papacy. 

21. V. 112. St. Francis came for his soul, as that of one 
of the brethren of his Order. 

vv. 113-136] CANTO XXVII 185 

for me afterwards, when I was dead, but one of 
the black Cherubim said to him : ' Bear him not 
away ; do me not wrong ; he must come down 
among my drudges because he gave the fraud- 
ulent counsel, since which till now I have been 
at his hair ; for he who does not repent cannot 
be absolved, nor can repentance and will exist 
together, because of the contradiction which 
does not allow it/ " O me woeful ! how I shud- 
dered when he took me, saying to me : * Per- 
haps thou didst not think that I was a logician/ 
He bore me to Minos ; and he twisted his tail 
eight times round his hard back,''^ and, after he 
had bitten it from great rage, he said : * This is 
one of the sinners of the thievish fire : ' where- 
fore here, where thou seest, I am lost, and going 
thus robed I am afflicted/' When he had thus 
completed his speech the flame, sorrowing, de- 
parted, twisting and flapping its sharp horn. 

We passed onward, I and my Leader, over 
the crag, far as to the next arch that covers the 
ditch in which the fee is paid by those who 
acquire their load by sundering.^^ 

22. V. 1 20. Repentance of a sin and the will to commit 
it cannot coexist. 

23. V. 125. See Canto V. 11-12. 

24. V. 136. Those who, sowing discord, sever the bond 
which nature makes (Canto xi. 56), and thus load them- 
selves with the burden of sin and its penalty. 


Eighth Circle : ninth pouch : sowers of discord and 
schism, — Mahomet and Ali. — Fra Dolcino. — Pier da 
Medicina, — Curio, — Mosca, — Bertran de Born, 

Who, even with words unfettered/ could 
ever tell in full, though many times narrating, 
of the blood and of the wounds that I now saw ? 
Every tongue assuredly would come short, by 
reason of our speech and our memory which 
have small capacity to comprise so much. 

If all the people were again assembled, that 
of old upon the storm-tossed land of ApuHa 
lamented for their blood shed by the Trojans,^ 

1. V. I. In prose. 

2. V. lo. In Canto xxvi. 60 Virgil has spoken of the 
Trojans led by Aeneas as *' the noble seed of the Romans,*' 
and here Dante uses the term Trojans as synonymous with 
Romans. The sentence, complicated by parentheses, may 
be paraphrased as follows : If the people who fell in Apulia 
when it was conquered by the Romans, and those slain there 
in the Second Punic war, and those who died opposing Robert 
Guiscard, and those who perished at Benevento, were all 
brought together in one assembly, and were to show their 
wounds, the horrible spectacle would be nothing to that dis- 
played by the ninth bolgia. 

vv. 10-25] CANTO XXVIII 187 

and in the long war that made such vast spoil 
of the rings,^ as Livy writes, who does not err ; 
together with those who, by resisting Robert 
Guiscard/ felt the pain of blows, and the others 
whose bones are still heaped up at CeperanOj^ 
where every Apulian was false, and there by 
Tagliacozzo,^ where the old Alardo conquered 
without arms, — and one should show his limb 
pierced through, and one his lopped off, it 
would be nothing to equal the hideous mode 
of the ninth pouch. 

Truly a cask by losing mid-board or stave is 
not so split open, as one I saw who was cleft 
from the chin to where the wind is broken : 
his entrails were hanging between his legs, his 

3. V. II. The spoils — three bushels and a half of rings 
— of the battle of Cannae, in the second Punic war, which 
lasted more than fifteen years. Livy, xxiii. i 2. 

4. V. 14. The Norman conqueror and Duke of Apulia. 
He died in 1085. 

5. V. 16. There was no battle at Ceperano, but the 
defence of the bridge there over the Garigliano was treacher- 
ously abandoned, leaving the way open for Charles of Anjou 
to advance to Benevento, where, on February 26, i 26|, the 
great battle was fought which ended in the defeat and death 
of Manfred, king of Sicily. At this battle many of the Apu- 
lian barons proved traitors. 

6. V. 17. Here, in 1268, Conradin, the nephew of 
Manfred, was defeated and taken prisoner by Charles 
of Anjou. The victory was won, not by arms, but by a 
stratagem devised by Count Erard (Alardo) de Valery. 

i88 HELL [vv. 26-52 

pluck was visible, and the dismal sack which 
makes ordure of what is swallowed. While I 
fix myself all on seeing him, he looked at me, 
and with his hands opened his breast, saying : 
" Now see how I rend myself; see how mangled 
is Mahomet. In front of me goes Ali^ weep- 
ing, cleft in the face from chin to forelock ; and 
all the others whom thou seest here were, when 
living, sowers of scandal and of schism, and 
therefore are they so cleft. A devil is here be- 
hind that fashions us so cruelly, putting again 
to the edge of the sword each of this throng, 
when we have circled the doleful road ; because 
the wounds are closed up before one passes 
again before him. But who art thou that art 
musing on the crag, perhaps to delay going to 
the punishment that has been adjudged on 
thine own accusations ? " ^ " Death has not 
reached him yet,'* replied my Master, "nor 
does guilt lead him to torment him ; but, in 
order to give him full experience, it behoves me, 
who am dead, to lead him down here through 
Hell, from circle to circle ; and this is true, as 
that I speak to thee." 

More than a hundred there were who, when 

7. V. 32. Cousin and son-in-law of Mahomet, and him- 
self the head of a schism. 

8. V. 45. When the soul appears before Minos, ** it 
confesses itself wholly." See Canto v. 8. 

vv. 53-76] CANTO XXVIII 189 

they heard him, stopped in the ditch to look at 
me, forgetting the torment in their wonder. 

" Now say then to Fra Dolcino,^ thou who 
perhaps wilt shortly see the sun, if he wish not 
speedily to follow me hither, so to arm himself 
with provisions that stress of snow may not 
bring the victory to the Novarese, which to 
gain otherwise would not be easy." Mahomet 
said to me this word, after he had lifted one 
foot to go on, then to depart he stretched it on 
the ground. 

Another who had his throat pierced and his 
nose cut off close under his brows, and had but 
one ear only, having stopped to gaze, for won- 
der, with the others, before the others opened 
his gullet, which outwardly was all crimson, and 
said : " O thou whom guilt does not condemn, 
and whom I saw above in the land of Italy, if 
exceeding resemblance deceive me not, if ever 
thou return to see the sweet plain which slopes 
from Vercelli to Marcab6,'° remember Pier da 
Medicina," and make known to the two best 

9. V. 55. A noted heretic and reformer, who for two 
years maintained himself in Lombardy against the forces of 
the Pope, but finally, being reduced by famine in time of 
snow, in i 307, was taken captive and burnt at Vercelli. 

10. V. 75. From the foot of the Alps to the Adriatic. 
Marcabo was a stronghold near the mouths of the Po. 

11. V. 73. Medicina is a town between Bologna and 

iQO HELL [vv. 77-89 

men of Fano, to Messer Guido and likewise to 
Angiolello," that, if our foresight here is not 
vain, they will be thrown out of their vessel and 
sunk near La Cattolica/^ through the treachery 
of a fell tyrant. Between the islands of Cyprus 
and Majorca ''^ Neptune never saw so great a 
crime, not of the pirates, nor of the Argolic 
people/^ That traitor who sees only with one 
eye, and holds the city '^ from sight of which one 
who is here with me would wish he had fasted, 
will make them come to parley with him ; then 
will deal so that against the wind of Focara '^ 

Imola. Piero was a fosterer of discord among the lords of 
the cities of Romagna. 

12. V* 77. Guido del Cassero and Angiolello da Ca- 
gnano, treacherously drowned (about 131 2) by order of the 
one-eyed Malatestino (cf. xxvii. 46), lord of Rimini. The 
word used by Dante for their drowning is the term for throw- 
ing into the water a person tied in a sack weighted with stone. 

13. V. 80. A small town on the coast of the Adriatic 
between Rimini and Pesaro. 

14. V. 82. From one end to the other of the Mediter- 

15. V. 84. "The Argolic people,** as a term for the 
Greeks, is borrowed from the Aeneid, ii. 78. The Greeks 
were held from of old to be ruthless sea-robbers. 

16. V. 86. Rimini, which the sinner would wish never 
to have seen. 

17. V. 89. A high foreland near La Cattolica, dreaded 
by mariners because of the dangerous squalls which often 
swept down from it. 

vv. 90-106] CANTO XXVIII 191 

they will not need vow or prayer." And I to 
him : " Show to me and declare, if thou wishest 
that I carry up news of thee, who is he of the 
bitter sight ? " '^ Then he put his hand on 
the jaw of one of his companions, and opened 
the mouth of him, crying : " This is he, and he 
does not speak ; this one, being banished, stifled 
the doubt in Caesar, affirming that the man 
prepared always suffered harm from delay." 
Oh, how aghast, with his tongue cut off in his 
throat, seemed to me Curio,'^ who had been so 
bold to speak ! 

And one who had both hands lopped oflF, 
lifting the stumps through the murky air so 
that the blood made his face foul, cried out : 
" Thou shalt bear in mind Mosca,''° too, who 

18. V. 93. He to whom the sight of Rimini had proved 
bitter, so that he might wish never to have seen it. 

19. v. 102. Curio the Tribune, banished from Rome, 
fled to Caesar delaying to cross the Rubicon, which enters 
the Adriatic a few miles north of Rimini, and urged him on, 
with the argument, according to Lucan, ** Tolle moras, sem- 
per nocuit diff err e par atis^ Phars. i. 281. 

20. V. 106. In i2i5oneofthe Buondelmonti, plighted 
to a maiden of the Amidei family, broke faith, and engaged 
himself to a damsel of the house of the Donati. The rela- 
tives of the girl who had been thus slighted took counsel how 
to avenge the affront, and Mosca de* Lamberti gave the ill 
advice to kill the young Buondelmonte, clenching his coun- 
sel with the words. Capo ha cosafatta, ** Thing done has a 

192 HELL [vv. 107-133 

said, alas ! ' Thing done has a head/ which was 
the seed of ill for the Tuscan people." And 
I added for him : " And death to thine own 
race." Whereat he, accumulating woe on woe, 
went away like a person sorrowful and mad. 

But I remained to look at the crowd, and saw 
a thing which, without more proof, I should be 
afraid only to tell, were it not that conscience 
reassures me, the good companion which em- 
boldens man under the hauberk of feeling itself 
pure. I saw truly, and I seem to see it still, a 
trunk without a head going along, even as the 
others of the dismal herd were going. And it 
was holding its cut-off head by the hair, dan- 
gling it in hand like a lantern, and that was gaz- 
ing on us, and saying : " O me ! " Of itself it 
was making a lamp for itself; and they were 
two in one, and one in two ; how it can be He 
knows who so ordains. When he was right at 
foot of the bridge, he lifted his arm high with 
the whole head, in order to bring its words near 
to us, which were : " Now see the dire punish- 
ment, thou that, breathing, goest seeing the 
dead : see if any other be great as this ! And 
that thou mayst carry news of me, know that 

head," it is an accomplished fact, it cannot be undone, there 
is no question as to its meaning, it shows its head. The 
murder was the beginning of long woe to Florence, and of 
the division of her people into Guelfs and Ghibellines. 

vv. 134-142] CANTO XXVIII 193 

1 am Bertran de Born," he that gave to the 
young king the ill encouragements. I made 
father and son rebels to each other. Ahitho- 
phel did not more with Absalom and with 
David by his wicked goadings. Because I 
divided persons thus united, I carry my brain, 
alas ! divided from its source which is in this 
trunk. Thus the retribution is observed in 

21. V. 134. The famous troubadour who incited the 
young Prince Henry to rebellion against his father, Henry II. 
of England. The prince died in 1 183. 


Eighth Circle : ninth pouch, — Geri del Bella, — 
Tenth pouch : falsifiers of all sorts. — Alchemists, — 
Griffolino of Jrezxo. — Capocchio, 

The many people and the divers wounds 
had so inebriated my eyes that they were fain 
to stay for weeping ; but Virgil said to me : 
" What art thou still watching ? why does thy 
gaze still rest down there among the dismal 
mutilated shades ? Thou hast not done so at 
the other pits ; consider, if thou thinkest to 
count them, that the valley circles two and 
twenty miles ; ' and already the moon is be- 
neath our feet ; ^ the time is little now that is 

1. V. 9. Dante here, for the first time, gives a precise 
measurement of one of the localities of Hell ; and in the next 
canto he gives another, from which it appears that the circuit 
of the tenth bolgia is but half that of this the ninth, thus, as 
Dr. Carlyle points out, suggesting to the imagination ** the 
vast dimensions and population of all the Hell above." 

2. V. 10. '* This is another w^ay of saying that it was 
early in the afternoon, about i or 2 p. m. Dante very sig- 
nificantly here, as in xx. 125 and elsewhere during his pas- 
sage through the Inferno, avoids mention of the sun, and 

vv. 11-27] CANTO XXIX 195 

conceded to us, and other things are to be seen 
than these thou seest." " If thou hadst," re- 
plied I thereupon, " given heed to the reason 
why I was looking, perhaps thou wouldst have 
permitted me yet to stay." 

Meanwhile my Leader was going on, and I 
was going behind him, now making my reply, 
and adding : " Within that hollow where I was 
now holding my eyes so fixedly, I believe that a 
spirit of my own blood is weeping for the guilt 
which costs so dear down there." Then said 
the Master : " Let not thy thought henceforth 
be broken upon him ; ^ attend to other thing, 
and let him stay there ; for I saw him at the 
foot of the little bridge, pointing thee out, and 
threatening fiercely with his finger, and I heard 
him called Geri del Bello.* Thou wert then 

describes the hour by referring rather to the position of 'the 
face of the lady who rules here,* x. 80.** Moore, Time- 
Refer encesy p. 50. 

3. V. 22. The meaning of this forcible metaphor, which 
occurs in a rhyme-word, seems to be, hereafter let not specu- 
lation about him break in upon your thought. 

4. V. 27. A first cousin of Dante's father. According 
to Benvenuto da Imola he was a harmful and quarrelsome 
person, who, having sown discord among the members of the 
Sacchetti family, was slain by one of them. After thirty 
years his death was avenged by his nephews, by the killing 
of one of the Sacchetti. The feud between the Alighieri and 
the Sacchetti seems to have continued till 1 342, when a recon- 

196 HELL [vv. 28-50 

so wholly occupied with him who of old held 
Hautefort^ that thou didst not look that way ; 
so he went off." " O my Leader/' said I, " that 
his violent death has not yet been avenged for 
him by any one who is a partner in the shame 
made him indignant ; wherefore, as I deem, he 
went on without speaking to me, and thereby 
he has made me the more pitiful for him/* 

Thus we spoke as far as the first place on 
the crag which shows the next valley, if more 
light were there, quite to the bottom. When 
we were above the last cloister of Malebolge, so 
that its lay brothers could appear to our sight, 
divers lamentations pierced me, which had their 
arrows barbed with woe ; wherefore I covered 
my ears with my hands. 

Such suffering as there would be if, between 
July and September, the sick from the hospitals 
of Valdichiana and of Maremma and of Sar- 
dinia^ were all in one ditch together, such was 
there here ; and such stench came forth there- 

ciliation was formally made between the two families. The 
taking vengeance for the murder of a relation was generally 
recognized as a duty by the members of the family of the 
victim. *« Fair honor is won in doing vengeance " is the last 
verse of one of Dante's Canzoni. 

5. V. 29. Bertran de Born, lord of Hautefort. 

6. V. 48. The marshy valley of the sluggish Chiana, 
the Maremma, or flat swampy sea-coast of Tuscany, and the 
fens of Sardinia were noted haunts of malarial fever. 

vv. 51-77] CANTO XXIX 197 

from, as is wont to come from gangrened limbs. 
We descended upon the last bank of the long 
crag, ever to the left hand, and then my sight 
became livelier down toward the bottom, where 
the ministress of the High Lord — infallible 
Justice — punishes the falsifiers whom she 
registers here. 

I do not believe it was a greater sorrow to 
see the whole people in Aegina sick, when the 
air was so full of harm that the animals, even 
to the little worm, all fell dead, and afterwards 
the ancient people, according as the poets hold 
for sure, were restored from seed of ants,^ than 
it was to see the spirits languishing in different 
heaps through that dark valley. One was lying 
on the belly, and one on the shoulders of an- 
other, and one, on all fours, was shifting himself 
along the dismal path. Step by step we went 
without speech, looking at and listening to the 
sick, who could not lift their persons. 

I saw two seated leaning on each other, as 
pan is leaned against pan to warm, spotted from 
head to foot with scabs ; and never did I see 
currycomb plied by stable-boy for whom his 

7. V. 64. Dante had the story from Ovid (^Metam, 
vii. 523—657) how, when the people of Aegina had perished 
in a pestilence sent upon them by Juno, the island was re- 
peopled by Jupiter, at the prayer of the king, Aeacus, by 
changing ants into men. 

198 HELL [vv. 78-105 

lord is waiting, or by one who stays awake un- 
willingly, as each was incessantly plying the bite 
of his nails upon himself, because of the great 
rage of his itching which has no other relief. 
And the nails were dragging down the scab, as a 
knife does the scales of bream, or of other fish 
that has them larger still. 

" O thou, that art dismailing thyself with thy 
fingers,** began my Leader unto one of them, 
*' and who sometimes makest pincers of them, 
tell me if any Italian is among those who are 
here within, so may thy nails suffice thee eter- 
nally for this work.** " Italians are we whom 
here thou seest so spoiled, both of us,** replied 
one weeping, " but who art thou that askest 
of us ? ** And the Leader said : " I am one 
that descends with this living man down from 
ledge to ledge, and I intend to show Hell to 
him.** Then their mutual support was broken ; 
and each turned trembling to me, with others 
who heard him by rebound.^ The good Mas- 
ter drew quite close to me, saying : " Say to 
them what thou wilt ; ** and I began, since he 
wished it : " So may memory of you in the 
first world not steal away from the minds of 
men, but may it live under many suns, tell me 

8. V. 99. The words, not addressed to them directly, 
reached them, as it were by rebound, from him to whom 
they were spoken. 

vv. 106-125] CANTO XXIX 199 

who ye are, and of what folk ; let not your un- 
seemly and loathsome punishment fright you 
from disclosing yourselves unto me." " I was 
of Arezzo," replied one of them^^ "and Al- 
bero of Siena had me put in the fire ; but that 
for which I died does not bring me here. It 
is true that I said to him, speaking in jest, that 
I knew how to raise myself through the air in 
flight, and he, who had lively desire and little 
wit, wished that I should show him the art, and 
only because I did not make him Daedalus, 
caused me to be burned by one '° who had 
him for son ; but to the last pouch of the ten, 
Minos, to whom it is not allowed to err, 
condemned me by reason of the alchemy that 
I practiced in the world." 

And I said to the Poet : " Now was ever 
people so vain as the Sienese ? surely not so 
the French by much." 

Whereon the other leprous one, who heard 
me, replied to my words : " Excepting " Stricca, 

9. V. no. This is supposed to be one GrifFolino, of 
whom the old commentators tell nothing more than is implied 
in Dante's words. 

10. V. 1 1 7. The Bishop of Siena, under whose ecclesias- 
tical jurisdiction Griffolino fell as a dealer in the black art. 
The Bishop was the reputed father of Albero. 

11. V. 125. Ironical; these youths all being members 
of a gay company at Siena known as the brigata godereccia 
or spender eccidy the *' joyous " or ** spendthrift brigade.'* 

200 HELL [vv. 126-139 

who knew how to make moderate spendings; 
and Niccolo, who first invented the costly use 
of the clove," in the garden where such seed 
takes root; and excepting the brigade in which 
Caccia of Asciano squandered his vineyard and 
his great wood, and Abbagliato showed his wit. 
But that thou mayst know who thus seconds 
thee against the Sienese, sharpen thine eye to- 
ward me so that my face may answer well to 
thee, so wilt thou see that I am the shade of 
Capocchio, who falsified the metals by alchemy ; 
and thou shouldst recollect, if I descry thee 
aright, how I was a good ape of nature." '^ 

12. V. 128. What precise extravagance is meant is un- 
certain. Benvenuto da Imola says that it was the roasting 
of pheasants and capons at a fire made of cloves. 

13. V. 139. Capocchio was burnt alive at Siena in 
1293. It would appear from his words that he and Dante 
had met in ** the fair life." 


Eighth Circle : tenth pouch : false personators,^ false 
moneyers^ and false in words. — Myrrha. — Gianni 
Schicchi. — Master Adam. — Sinon of Troy. 

At the time when Juno was wroth because 
of Semele against the Theban blood, as she 
showed more than once, Athamas became so in- 
sane/ that seeing his wife come laden on either 
hand with her two sons, he cried out : " Spread 
we the nets, so that I may take the lioness 
and the young lions at the pass," and then he 
stretched out his pitiless talons, seizing the one 
who was named Learchus, and whirled him and 
dashed him on a rock ; and she drowned her- 
self with her other burden. And when For- 
tune turned downward^ the loftiness of the 
Trojans which dared all, so that together with 
his kingdom the king was undone, Hecuba, sad, 

1. V. 4. It was from Ovid, Me tarn, iv. 51 1-529, that 
Dante drew this story. Athamas was King of Orchomenos, 
his wife was Nephele, but he had two children by the sister 
of Semele, Ino, whom Dante here calls his wife. Both he 
and Ino had incurred the resentment of Juno. 

2. V. 13. On her ever-revolving wheel. 

202 HELL [vv. 16-32 

wretched, and captive, after she saw Polyxena 
dead, and descried her Polydorus on the sea- 
strand, she the doleful, frantic, barked like a 
dog, to such degree had grief distraught her 

But neither furies of Thebes nor of Troy 
were ever seen in any one so cruel, not in goad- 
ing beasts much less human limbs, as those I 
saw in two pale and naked shades ^ who were 
running, biting, in the way that a boar does 
when he is let out from the sty. One came at 
Capocchio, and struck his tusks in the nape of 
his neck, so that dragging him it made his belly 
scratch along the solid bottom. And the Are- 
tine,5 who remained trembling, said to me : 
" That mad sprite is Gianni Schicchi,^ and he 

3. V. 21. After the fall of Troy, Hecuba, accompanied 
by her daughter, Polyxena, was carried away as a slave. On 
the voyage to Greece Polyxena was slain as a victim on the 
tomb of Achilles, and near by, on the Thracian coast, Hec- 
uba found the body of her young son Polydorus, who had 
been murdered and cast into the sea by King Polymestor, 
See Ovid, Metam, xiii. 404 seqq. 

4. V. 25. No mad rages were ever so merciless as those 
of these furious spirits. 

5. V. 31. GrifFolino of Arezzo. 

6. V. 32. Gianni (Johnny) Schicchi was of the house 
of the Cavalcanti, and an elder contemporary of Dante. He 
was noted as a mimic ; his chief exploit in mimicry being that 
referred to just below. 

vv. 33-56] CANTOXXX 203 

goes rabid dressing others thus/* " Oh ! " said 
I to him, " so may the other not fix its teeth on 
thee, let it not be weariness to thee to tell who it 
is before it breaks away from here." And he 
to me : " That is the ancient soul of infamous 
Myrrha,^ who became loving of her father be- 
yond rightful love. She came thus to sinning 
with him by falsifying herself in another's form, 
even as the other, who goes off there, ventured, 
in order to gain the lady of the stud, to simulate 
in his own person Buoso Donati, making a will 
and giving to the will due form.*' * 

And after the two rabid ones, upon whom I 
had kept my eye, had passed on, I turned it to 
look at the others of the evil born. I saw one 
shaped in fashion of a lute, had he only had 
his groin cut short at the part where man is 
forked. The heavy dropsy which, with its ill- 
digested humor, so unmates the members that 
the face does not correspond with the belly, was 
making him hold his lips open, as the hectic 

7. V. 38. The daughter of Cinyras, king of Cyprus. 
Her story is told by Ovid, Metam. x. 293 ff. 

8. V. 45. Buoso Donati had died without making a will, 
whereupon his son suborned Gianni Schicchi to personate the 
dead man in bed, and to dictate a will in his favor. This 
Gianni did, inserting, however, several clauses with bequests 
to himself, among which was that of a favorite mare or she 
mule of Buoso's, reputed the best in all Tuscany. 

204 HELL [vv. 57-77 

does, who for thirst turns one toward his chin, 
and the other upward. 

" Oh ye, who are without any punishment, 
and I know not why, in this dismal world," 
said he to us, " behold and consider the misery 
of Master Adam. Living, I had enough of 
what I wished, and now, alas ! I long for a drop 
of water. The little brooks that from the green 
hills of the Casentin ^ run down into the Arno, 
making their channels cool and soft, stand ever 
before me, and not in vain ; for their image 
dries me up far more than the malady whereby 
I strip my face of flesh. The rigid justice that 
scourges me draws occasion from the place 
where I sinned to set my sighs the more in 
flight. There is Romena, where I falsified the 
coin stamped with the Baptist,'" for which on 
earth I left my body burnt." But if I could 
see here the miserable soul of Guido, or of Ales- 
sandro, or of their brother," I would not give 

9. V. 65. The district of the Casentino lies in the folds 
of the Apennines, at the head of the valley of the Arno. 

10. V. 74. The florin which bore on the obverse the 
figure of John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence, and 
on the reverse the lily- flower, ^(?r^, from which the coin had 
its xizinQyJiorino. 

11. V. 7 5. A little village near the border of the Casen- 
tino bears the strange name of La Consuma, perpetuating the 
fact that here, in 1281, Master Adam was burnt alive by the 
Florentines, jealous for the purity of their florin. 

12. V' 77' Counts of Romena. 

vv. 78-99] CANTOXXX 205 

the sight for Fonte Branda.'^ One of them is 
here within already, if the raging shades who go 
around speak true ; but what does it avail me 
who have my limbs bound ? If I were only still 
so light that in a hundred years I could go one 
inch, I should already have set out along the 
path, seeking for him among this disfigured 
folk, although it circles round eleven miles, and 
has not here less than a half mile across. Be- 
cause of them I am among such a family ; they 
induced me to strike the florins which had three 
carats of base-metal." '* And I to him : " Who 
are the two poor wretches that are smoking like 
wet hands in winter, lying close to thy confines 
on the right ? " " Here I found them," he an- 
swered, " when I rained down into this trough, 
and they have not since given a turn, and I do 
not believe they will give one to all eternity. 
One is the false woman who accused Joseph, 
the other is the false Sinon the Greek, from 
Troy : '^ because of their sharp fever they throw 
out such great reek." 

13. V. 7 8 . The noted fountain in Siena, or perhaps one 
of like name in Romena. 

14. V. 90. The counterfeit coins he struck contained 
but twenty-one carats of gold instead of twenty-four, the 
legal standard. 

15. V. 98. The lying Greek who persuaded the Trojans 
to admit the Wooden Horse into their city, and ** brought 
Troy all utterly to sorrow." Aeneid, ii. 57 ff. 

2o6 HELL [vv. 100-129 

And one of them, who took it ill perhaps to 
be named so darkly, with his fist struck him 
on his stiff paunch ; it sounded as if it were a 
drum ; and Master Adam struck him on the 
face with his arm which did not seem less hard, 
saying to him : " Though moving be taken 
from me because of my limbs which are heavy, 
I have an arm free for such need." Whereon 
he replied : " When thou wast going to the fire 
thou hadst it not thus ready ; but so and more 
thou hadst it when thou wast coining." And 
he of the dropsy : " Thou sayest true of this, 
but thou wast not so true a witness there where 
thou wast questioned of the truth at Troy." 
" If I said false, thou didst falsify the coin," 
said Sinon, " and I am here for a single sin, 
and thou for more '^ than any other demon." 
" Remember, perjurer, the horse," answered he 
who had the puffed up paunch, " and be it ill 
for thee that all the world knows it." " And 
for thee be ill the thirst wherewith thy tongue 
cracks," said the Greek, " and the putrid water 
that makes thy belly thus a hedge before thine 
eyes." Then the coiner : " Thy mouth gapes 
thus for its own harm as it is wont, for if I 
have thirst, and humor stuffs me, thou hast the 
burning, and the head that pains thee, and to 
lick the mirror of Narcissus thou wouldst not 
want many words of invitation." 

16. V. 117. Each coin counting for a sin. 

vv. 130-148] CANTO XXX 207 

I was wholly fixed in listening to them, when 
the Master said to me : " Now only look ! for 
it wants but little that I quarrel with thee/' 
When I heard him speak to me with anger, I 
turned me toward him with such shame that 
even yet it circles through my memory. And 
as is he who dreams of his harm, and, dream- 
ing, desires to dream, so that he longs for that 
which is, as if it were not, such I became, not 
being able to speak ; for I desired to excuse my- 
self, and all the while I was excusing myself, 
and never thought that I was doing it. " Less 
shame washes away a greater fault than thine 
has been," said the Master ; " therefore disbur- 
den thyself of all sadness, and make reckoning 
that I am always at thy side, if again it happen 
that fortune find thee where people may be in 
a similar wrangle ; for the wish to hear this is a 
base wish." 


The Giants around the Eighth Circle, — Nimrod, — 
Ephialtes. — Antaeus sets the Poets down in the Ninth 

One and the same tongue first stung me, so 
that it tinged both my cheeks, and then sup- 
plied the medicine to me. Thus do I hear 
that the lance of Achilles and of his father was 
wont to be cause first of a sad and then of a 
good gift." 

We turned our backs to the wretched valley,' 
up over the bank that girds it round, crossing 
without any speech. Here it was less than 
night and less than day, so that my sight went 
little forward ; but I heard a loud horn sound- 

1. V. 6. Ovid more than once refers to the magic 
power of the spear which had been given to Peleus by Chi- 
ron. Shakespeare makes use of it metaphorically, precisely 
as Dante does, speaking of one 

Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear, 
Is able with the charge to kill and cure. 

a Henry VI. v. i. 

So, too, Chaucer, in The Squier^s Tale, 238-240. 

2. V. 7. The tenth and last bolgia. 

vv. 13-33] CANTO XXXI 209 

ing, so that it would have made every thunder 
faint, and this directed my eyes, following its 
course counter to it,' wholly to one place. 

After the dolorous rout when Charlemagne 
lost the holy gest, Roland sounded not so ter- 
ribly.* Short while I carried my head turned 
thitherward, when it seemed to me that I saw 
many high towers ; whereon I : " Master, say, 
what city is this ? " And he to me : " Because 
thou dost cross through the darkness from too 
far oif, it happens that then thou dost err in 
thy imagining. Thou wilt see well, if thou 
drawest nigh there, how much the sense is de- 
ceived at a distance ; therefore spur thyself on 
somewhat more." Then he took me tenderly 
by the hand, and said : " Before we go further 
forward, in order that the fact may seem less 
strange to thee, know that these are not towers, 
but giants, and they are in the pit ^ round about 
the bank, from the navel downward, one and 
all of them." 

3. V. 14. My eyes were turned by the sound in the 
direction whence it came, consequently counter to it. 

4. V. 18. At Roncesvalles. 

**Rollanz ad mis Tolifan a sa buche, 
Empeint le bien, par grant vertut le sunet. 
Halt sunt li pui e la voiz est mult lunge, 
Granz xxx. liwes I'oirent-il rcspundre, 
Carles Toit e ses cumpaignes tutes." 

Chanson de Rolandy 1753-57. 

5. V. 32. The central deep of Hell. 

210 HELL [vv. 34-59 

As when the mist is dissipating, the look 
little by little shapes out what the vapor that 
thickens the air conceals, so, as I pierced the 
gross and dark air, as we drew nearer and nearer 
to the brink, error fled from me and fear grew 
upon me. For as above its circular enclosure 
Montereggione ^ crowns itself with towers, so 
with half their bodies the horrible giants, whom 
Jove still threatens from heaven when he thun- 
ders, betowered the bank which surrounds the 

And already I discerned the face of one of 
them, his shoulders, and his breast, and great 
part of his belly, and down along his sides both 
his arms. Nature, surely, when she left the art 
of such like living beings, did exceeding well to 
take such executioners from Mars : and though 
she repent not of elephants and of whales, he 
who looks subtly holds her therein more just 
and more discreet ; ^ for where the faculty of the 
mind is added to evil will and to power, the hu- 
man race can make no defense against it. His 
face seemed to me long and huge as the pine- 
cone ^ of St. Peter at Rome, and his other bones 

6. V. 41. The towers of Montereggione in ruin still 
crown its broken wall, and may be seen from the railroad not 
far from Siena, on the way to Florence. 

7. V. 54. Elephants and whales, being devoid of reason, 
are not dangerous to mankind. 

8. V. 59. This cone of gilt bronze, once the crowning 

vv. 60-83] CANTO XXXI 211 

were in proportion with it ; so that the bank, 
which was an apron from his middle downward, 
showed of him fully so much above, that three 
Frieslanders 9 would have made ill vaunt to 
reach to his hair : for I saw of him thirty great 
spans down from the place where one buckles 
his cloak.'° 

" Rafel mai amech zabi almi^^ the fierce 
mouth, to which sweeter psalms were not be- 
fitting, began to cry. And my Leader toward 
him : " Foolish soul ! Keep to thy horn, and 
with that vent thyself, when anger or other pas- 
sion touches thee ; seek at thy neck, and thou 
wilt find the cord that holds it tied, O soul 
confused ! and see it lying athwart thy great 
breast/' Then he said to me : " He accuses 
himself; this is Nimrod, because of whose evil 
thought one language only is not used in the 
world. Let us leave him alone, and not speak 
in vain ; for such is every language to him, as 
his to others which is known to no one.** 

Then turning to the left, we made a longer 
journey, and at a crossbow-shot we found the 

ornament of the Mausoleum of Hadrian, stood in Dante's 
time in the fore-court of St. Peter's, and is now in the Vati- 
can gardens. It is about seven feet and a half high. 

9. V. 64. Reputed to be tall men. 

10. V. 66. That is, something more than twenty feet 
from his neck to his waist. 

212 HELL [vv. 84-1.02 

next, far more fierce and larger. Who had been 
the master to bind him I cannot tell ; but he had 
his right arm shackled behind, and the other in 
front, by a chain which held him girt from the 
neck downward, so that upon his uncovered 
part" it was wound as far as the fifth coil. 
" This proud one wished to make trial of his 
power against the supreme Jove,'* said my 
Leader, "wherefore he has such requital. 
Ephialtes " is his name, and he made his great 
endeavors when the giants caused fear to the 
Gods : the arms which he plied he moves 


And I to him : " If it may be, I would that my 
eyes might have experience of the measureless 
Briareus." '^ Whereon he answered : " Hard 
by here thou shalt see Antaeus, who speaks, and 
is unfettered,''^ who will set us at the bottom of 

11. V. 89. His body above the bank. 

1 2. V. 94. Iphimedeia bore to Poseidon two sons, '* but 
they were short-lived, godlike Otus and far-famed Ephialtes, 
whom the fruitful Earth nourished to be the tallest and much 
the most beautiful of mortals except renowned Orion, for at 
nine years old they were nine cubits in breadth, and nine 
fathoms tall. They even threatened the immortals, raising 
the din of tumultuous war on Olympus, and strove to set 
Ossa upon Olympus and wood-clad Pelion upon Ossa, in 
order to scale heaven. But Jove destroyed them both.*' 
Odyssey, xi. 306—317. 

13. V. 98. "Immensus Briareus." Statius, Theb. ii. 

14. V. 1 01. Because he took no part in the war of his 

vv. 103-125] CANTO XXXI 213 

all sin.'5 He whom thou wishest to see is 
much farther on, and is bound and fashioned 
like this one, save that he seems more ferocious 
in his look." 

Never was earthquake so mighty that it shook 
a tower as violently as Ephialtes was quick to 
shake himself. Then more than ever did I fear 
death ; and for it there had been no need of 
more than the fright, if I had not seen his 

We then proceeded further forward, and 
came to Antaeus, who stood full Hvc ells, be- 
sides his head, above the rock. " O thou 
that, in the fateful valley which made Scipio the 
heir of glory, when Hannibal with his followers 
turned his back, didst once bring a thousand 
lions for booty, and who hadst thou been at the 
high war of thy brothers, it seems that some still 
believe that the sons of the Earth would have 
conquered, set us below (and disdain not to do 
so) where the cold locks up Cocytus. Make us 
not go to Tityus, nor to Typhon ; '^ this man 
can give of that which is longed for here ; '^ 

brethren against the Gods. What Dante tells of him is de- 
rived from Lucan, Pharsaliay iv. 597 sqq. 

15. V. 1 02. He will lower us down the pit, to the ninth 
and lowest circle of Hell. 

16. V. 124. Lucan (^Phars, iv. 600), naming these 
giants, says they were less strong than Antaeus ; there is 
subtle flattery in these words of Virgil. 

17. V. 125. To be remembered on earth. 

214 HELL [vv. 126-145 

therefore stoop, and twist not thy muzzle. He 
can yet restore fame to thee in the world ; for 
he is living, and still expects long life, if Grace 
does not untimely call him to itself." Thus said 
the Master : and he in haste stretched out those 
hands, of which Hercules once felt the mighty 
grip, and took my Leader. Virgil, when he felt 
himself taken up, said to me : " Come hither, 
so that I may take thee : " then he did so that 
he and I were one bundle. As the Carisenda '^ 
seems to the view, beneath its leaning side, 
when a cloud is going over it so that the tower 
hangs counter to it, thus seemed Antaeus to 
me who was watching to see him stoop ; and 
it was a moment when I could have wished to 
go by another road. But lightly in the depth 
that swallows Lucifer with Judas he set us 
down ; nor, thus stooping, did he there make 
stay, but like the mast of a ship he raised him- 

18. V. 136. The shorter but more inclined of the two 
famous leaning towers at Bologna. As the cloud goes over 
it, the tower seems to bend to meet it. 


Ninth Circle : traitors. First ring : Caina, — 
Counts of Mangona. — Camicion de^ Pazzi. — Second 
ring : Antenora, — Bocca degli Abati, — Buoso da Duera, 
— Count Ugolino, 

If I had rhymes both harsh and raucous, 
such as would befit the dismal hole on which 
all the other rocks thrust, I would press out 
more fully the juice of my conception ; but 
since I have them not, not without fear I bring 
myself to speak ; for to describe the bottom of 
the whole universe is no enterprise to take up 
in jest, nor for a tongue that cries mamma and 
papa. But may those Dames ' aid my verse, 
who aided Amphion to enclose Thebes, so that 
the speech may not be diverse from the fact. 

O ye, beyond all others, miscreated rabble, 
that are in the place whereof to speak is hard, 
better had ye here ^ been sheep or goats ! 

1. V. lo. The Muses, who endowed the lyre of Am- 
phion with such power that its sound charmed the rocks to 
move from Mount Cithaeron and build themselves up for the 
walls of Thebes. 

2. V. 15. On earth. 

2i6 HELL [vv. 16-34 

When we were down in the dark pit beneath 
the feet of the giant, far lower, and I was still 
gazing at the high wall, I heard say to me : 
" Take heed how thou steppest ; go so that thou 
trample not with thy soles the heads of thy 
wretched weary brothers." Whereat I turned, 
and saw before me, and under my feet, a lake 
which by reason of frost had semblance of glass 
and not of water.^ 

The Danube in Austria never made in win- 
ter so thick a veil for its current, nor the Don 
yonder under the cold sky, as there was here : 
for if Tambernich "^ had fallen on it, or Pietra- 
pana,5 it would not have given a creak even 
at the edge. And as the frog lies to croak with 
muzzle out of the water, what time ^ the pea- 
sant woman often dreams of gleaning, so, livid 
up to where shame appears,^ were the woeful 

3. V. 24. The ice in which the traitors are locked in this 
lowest circle of Hell is symbolic of the cold-hearted nature of 
their sin. The lake of ice has four concentric rings ; the first 
is Caina, where traitors to their kindred suffer penalty ; the 
second is Antenora, for traitors to their country ; the third is 
Ptolomea, for traitors to their friends ; the fourth is Judecca, 
for the worst of all sinners, traitors to their benefactors. 

4. V. 28. A mountain, the locality of which is un- 

5. V. 29. One of the Tuscan Apennines. 

6. V. 32. In summer : the image of the warm days in- 
tensifies by contrast the sense of cold. 

7. V. 34. Up to the face. 

vv. 35-57] CANTO XXXII 217 

shades within the ice, setting their teeth to the 
note of the stork. ^ Every one held his face 
turned downward : from the mouth the cold, 
and from the eyes the sad heart provides testi- 
mony of itself among them. 

When I had looked round awhile, I turned 
to my feet, and saw two so close that they had 
the hair of their heads mixed together. " Tell 
me, ye who thus press tight your breasts," said 
I, " who are ye ? " And they bent their necks,^ 
and after they had raised their faces to me, their 
eyes, which before were moist only within, 
gushed up through the lids, and the frost bound 
the tears between them, and locked them up 
again ; clamp never girt board to board so 
strongly : and thereupon they, like two he-goats, 
butted one another, such anger overcame them. 

And one who had lost both his ears by the 
cold, with his face still downward, said to me : 
" Why dost thou so mirror thyself on us ? If 
thou wouldst know who are these two, the 
valley whence the Bisenzio descends belonged 
to their father Albert, and to them.'° They 

8. V. 36. Chattering with cold as a stork clatters with 
its bill. 

9. V. 44. Throwing them backwards. 

10. V. 57. These brothers are the Counts Napoleone and 
Alessandro degli Alberti ; one was a Ghibelline, the other a 
Guelf. They quarrelled over their inheritance, and each 

2i8 HELL [vv. 58-67 

issued from one body ; and thou mayst search 
all Caina, and thou wilt not find shade more 
worthy to be fixed in ice ; not he whose breast 
and shadow were broken by one self-same blow 
by the hand of Arthur ; " not Focaccia ; " not 
this one who so encumbers me with his head 
that I see no further, and who was named Sas- 
sol Mascheroni ; '^ if thou art a Tuscan, thou 
now knowest well who he was. And that thou 
mayst not put me to more speech, know that I 

seeking treacherously to kill the other, they were both slain. 
The Bisenzio, in the upper valley of which their possessions 
lay, is a little stream which, after flowing close by Prato, 
falls into the Arno some ten miles west below Florence. 

11. V. 62. Sir Mordred, the usurping treacherous son 
of King Arthur. At Dover they met in arms, and Arthur 
smote Sir Mordred with such a thrust of his spear that, 
on the withdrawal of the lance, a ray of light passed through 
the wound. But Mordred had first drawn himself up on 
Arthur's spear, and dealt him a mortal blow with his 

12. V. 63. Focaccia de' Cancellieri of Pistoia, who, 
according to Benvenuto, enraged by a trifling offense com- 
mitted by a boy, his cousin, cut off" the boy's hand, and then 
treacherously killed the boy's father. From this crime sprang 
the feud of the Black and the White factions, which, after 
raging in Pistoia, was introduced into Florence, bringing on 
both cities unnumbered woes, of which Dante himself had 
fiill share. The story of Focaccia' s crime is told differently 
by other chroniclers. 

13. V. 65. Sassol Mascheroni was a Florentine of the 
Toschi family, who murdered his nephew for an inheritance. 

vv. 68-83] CANTO XXXII 219 

was Camicion de* Pazzi/^ and I await Carlino 
to exculpate me." 

Then I saw a thousand faces made currish '^ 
by the cold : whence a shudder comes to me, 
and will always come, at frozen pools. 

And while we were going toward the centre '^ 
to which all gravity collects, and I was trem- 
bling in the eternal chill, whether it was will, or 
destiny, or fortune I know not, but, walking 
among the heads, I struck my foot hard in the 
face of one. Wailing he railed at me : " Why 
dost thou kick me ? If thou dost not come to 
increase the vengeance of Mont' Aperti, why 
dost thou molest me ? " And I : " My Master, 
now wait here for me, so that by means of this 
one I may free me from a doubt,'^ then thou 

14. V. 68. Camicion de' Pazzi is reported to have be- 
trayed and killed his kinsman Ubertino. The Carlino whom 
he awaits, and whose crime was such that his own would find 
excuse from its comparative triviality, was a member of the 
same family. In 1302 the castle of Piantravigne was held 
by a body of the recently exiled "Whites" of Florence, 
and with them was Carlino with a troop of soldiers. The 
castle was besieged by the " Blacks," and Carlino for a bribe 
opened its gates to them. Many of the chief exiles were 
slain, others were held for ransom. 

15. V. 70. With doglike grinning, their lips being strained 
open and tightened by the cold. 

16. V. 73. The centre of the earth. 

17. V. 83. The mention of Mont' Aperti led Dante to 

220 HELL [vv. 84-101 

shalt make as much haste for me as thou wilt." 
The Leader stopped ; and I said to that shade 
who was still bitterly blaspheming : " Who art 
thou that thus chidest another ? " " Now who 
art thou, that goest through the Antenora," '^ 
he answered, " smiting the cheeks of others, so 
that if thou wert alive, it would be too much ? " 
" I am alive, and it may be dear to thee," was 
my reply, "if thou demandest fame, that I set 
thy name among my other notes/' And he 
to me : " For the contrary have I desire ; take 
thyself hence, and give me no more trouble, 
for ill thou knowest to flatter on this swamp." 
Then I took him by the hair of the nape, and 
said : " It shall needs be that thou name thy- 
self, or that not a hair remain upon thee here." 
Whereon he to me, " Though thou strip me of 
hair, I will not tell thee who I am, nor show it 

suspect who the sinner was, and he desires to ascertain if his 
suspicion be correct, that the shade is that of Bocca degli 
Abati, the most infamous of Florentine traitors, who in the 
heat of the battle of Mont' Aperti, in 1 260, cut off the hand 
of the standard-bearer of the cavalry, so that the standard 
fell, and the Guelfs of Florence, disheartened thereby, were 
put to rout with frightful slaughter. Never had Florence 
been cast down so low. See Canto x. 85—93. 

18. V. 88. The second division of the ninth circle ; so 
named after the Trojan who, though neither Homer nor Vir- 
gil give any ground for the accusation, was charged by later 
widely accepted tradition with having betrayed Troy. 

vv. 102-119] CANTO XXXII 221 

to thee, though thou fall a thousand times upon 
my head." 

I had already twisted his hair in my hand, 
and had pulled out more than one tuft, he 
barking, with his eyes kept close down, when 
another cried out : " What ails thee, Bocca ? 
Is it not enough for thee to make a noise with 
thy jaws, but thou must bark too ? What 
devil is at thee ? " " Now," said I, " I do not 
want thee to speak, accursed traitor, for to thy 
shame will I carry true news of thee." " Be- 
gone," he answered, " and tell what thou wilt ; 
but be not silent, if thou go forth from here 
within, about him who now had his tongue so 
ready. He is lamenting here the silver of the 
French : I saw, thou canst say, him of Duera,'^ 
there where the sinners stand cold. Shouldst 
thou be asked who else was there, thou hast 
at thy side him of the Beccheria ^° whose gorge 

19. V. 116. Buoso da Duera, of Cremona, who, being 
in command of a part of the Ghibelline forces in Lombardy, 
assembled to oppose the troops of Charles of Anjou, on 
their way to the conquest of the kingdom of Naples in 1 265, 
was believed to have been bribed, so as to let them pass un- 

20. V. 119. Tesauro de' Beccheria, Abbot of Vallom- 
brosa, and Papal Legate, beheaded by the Florentines in 
1258, because of his treacherous dealings with the exiled 

222 HELL [vv. 120-132 

Florence cut. Gianni de' Soldanier" I think 
is farther on with Ganelon/' and Tribaldello ^^ 
who opened Faenza when it was sleeping." 

We had now departed from him, when I saw 
two frozen in one hole, so that the head of one 
was a hood for the other. And as bread is 
devoured for hunger, so the upper one set his 
teeth upon the other where the brain joins with 
the nape. Not otherwise Tydeus gnawed for 
despite the temples of Menalippus,^* than this 
one was doing to the skull and the other parts. 

21. V. 121. A Ghibelline of Florence, who, after the 
defeat of Manfred in 1 266, plotted against his own party. 

22. V. 122. Ganelon, ** the traitor who brought about 
the destruction of Charlemagne's rear guard at Roncesvalles, 
where Roland and Oliver, and the rest of the twelve peers 
were slain. His name, like that of Antenor of Troy and 
Sinon the Greek, became a byword for treachery in the 
Middle Ages." Toynbee. 

" O newe Scariot, newe Genelon ! 
False dissimulour, O Greek Sinon ! " 

The Nonne Priestes Taky 407-8. 

23. V. 122. In order to avenge a grudge against some 
of the Ghibellines of Bologna, who, being expelled from their 
city, had found refuge in Faenza, Tribaldello treacherously 
opened the gates of the town to their enemies, who, entering, 
massacred many of them. This happened in 1280. 

24. v. 130. Tydeus, one of the Seven Kings against 
Thebes, mortally wounded by Menalippus, slew his adver- 
sary, and then gnawed his cut-off head. Statius, Thebaid, 
viii. 740-63. 

vv. 133-139] CANTO XXXII 223 

" O thou that by so bestial a sign showest 
hatred against him whom thou art eating, tell 
me the wherefore," said I, " with this compact, 
that if thou with reason complainest of him, I, 
knowing who ye are, and his sin, may yet make 
thee quits with him in the world above, if that 
with which I speak be not dried up." 


Ninth circle : traitors. Second ring : Antenora, — 
Count XJgolino. — Third ring : Ptolomea. — Brother AU 
herigo. — Branca d^ Oria. 

From his savage repast that sinner raised 
his mouth, wiping it with the hair of the head 
that he had spoiled behind : then he began : 
*'Thou wishest that I should renew a desperate 
grief which oppresses my heart already only in 
thinking, ere I speak of it. But, if my words 
are to be seed that may bear fruit of infamy for 
the traitor whom I gnaw, thou shalt see me 
speak and weep together. I know not who thou 
art, nor by what mode thou art come down here, 
but Florentine thou seemest to me truly when 
I hear thee. Thou hast to know that I was 
Count Ugolino and this one the Archbishop 
Ruggieri.' Now I will tell thee why I am such 

I . V. 1 4. Ugolino della Gherardesca, Count of Dono- 
ratico, was for many years the most powerful citizen of Pisa, 
during a period of bitter calamities, and of strife at home and 
war abroad. In i 285 he was elected Podesta of Pisa for ten 
years, and, whether willingly or unwillingly is not known, he 

vv. 16-28] CANTO XXXIII 225 

a neighbor. That, by the effect of his evil 
thoughts, 1 5 trusting to him, was taken and 
then put to death, there is no need to tell ; but 
what thou canst not have heard, that is, how 
cruel my death was, thou shalt hear, and shalt 
know if he has wronged me. 

" A narrow slit in the mew, which from me 
has the title of Hunger, and in which others 
must yet be shut up, had already shown me 
through its opening many moons, when I had 
the bad dream which rent for me the veil of the 

" This one appeared to me master and lord, 

permitted his ambitious grandson, Nino dei Visconti, the 
" noble Judge Nino," whom Dante greets in the Valley of 
the Princes (^Purgatory ^ viii. 53), to share in the rule of the 
city. Discord soon broke out between the old and the 
young man ; each had his partisans ; there was tumult and 
bloodshed in the city, and the Guelf party was rent by this 
division between their leaders. The Ghibellines saw their 
opportunity. Their chief, the Archbishop Ruggieri degli 
Ubaldini, pretending friendship with Count Ugolino, joined 
forces with him to expel his grandson with his followers. 
The strength of the Guelfs in the city being thus weakened, 
the Archbishop turned against the Count. There was a great 
fight in the streets which ended in the defeat of the Guelfs ; 
the Count and two of his sons and two of his grandsons were 
taken prisoners, and were shut up in the tower of the Gua- 
landi alle Sette Vie. This was in July, 1288. In the suc- 
ceeding March the keys of the tower were thrown into the 
Arno, and the prisoners were starved to death. 

226 HELL [vv. 29-54 

chasing the wolf and his whelps upon the moun- 
tain * because of which the Pisans cannot see 
Lucca. With lean, eager, and trained hounds, 
he had put before him at the front Gualandi 
with Sismondi and with Lanfranchi.^ After 
short course, the father and his sons seemed 
to me weary, and it seemed to me I saw their 
flanks ripped by the sharp fangs. 

" When I awoke before the morrow, I heard 
my sons, who were with me, wailing in their 
sleep, and asking for bread. Truly thou art 
cruel if already thou dost not grieve, at thought 
of that which my heart was foreboding : and 
if thou dost not weep, at what art thou wont to 
weep ? They were now awake, and the hour was 
drawing near at which food used to be brought 
to us, and because of his dream each one was 
apprehensive. And I heard the door below 
of the horrible tower being nailed up ; whereat 
I looked on the faces of my sons without saying 
a word. I did not weep, I was so turned to 
stone within. They were weeping; and my 
poor little Anselm said, ' Thou lookest so, 
father, what ails thee ? * I shed no tear for 
that ; nor did I answer all that day, nor the night 
after, until the next sun came forth upon the 

2. V. 29. Monte San Giuliano ; Lucca is about four- 
teen miles northeast of Pisa. 

3. V. 32. Three of the chief Ghibelline families of Pisa. 

vv. 55-80] CANTO XXXIII 227 

world. When a little ray made its way into the 
woeful prison, and I discerned by their four 
faces my own very aspect, I bit both my hands 
for woe ; and they, thinking I did it through 
desire of eating, of a sudden raised themselves 
up, and said : ' Father, it will be far less pain 
to us if thou eat of us ; thou didst clothe us 
with this wretched flesh, and do thou strip it 
off.' I quieted me then, not to make them more 
sad : that day and the next we all stayed dumb. 
Ah, thou hard earth ! why didst thou not open ? 
After we had come to the fourth day, Gaddo 
threw himself stretched out at my feet, saying : 
' My father, why dost thou not help me ? ' 
Here he died : and, even as thou seest me, I 
saw the three fall one by one between the fifth 
day and the sixth ; then I betook me, already 
blind, to groping over each, and for two days I 
called them after they were dead : then fasting 
was more powerful than woe." 

When he had said this, with his eyes twisted, 
he seized again the wretched skull with his teeth, 
that were strong as a dog's upon the bone. 

Ah Pisa ! reproach of the people of the fair 
country where the st doth sound,^ since thy 

4. V. 80. Italy, whose language Dante calls // volgare 
di sty the common tongue in which si is the word for yes. 
(^Convito, i. 10.) In his De vulgari Eloquio, i. 8, Dante 
classifies the languages of Europe by their words of affirm- 

228 HELL [vv. 81-104 

neighbors are slow to punish thee, let Caprara 
and Gorgona^ move and make a hedge for 
Arno at its mouth, so that it may drown every 
person in thee : for even if Count Ugolino had 
repute of having betrayed thee in thy strong- 
holds, thou oughtest not to have set his sons 
on such a cross. Their young age, thou mod- 
ern Thebes, made Uguccione and II Brigata^ 
innocent, and the other two that my song names 

We passed onward to where the ice roughly 
enswathes another folk, not turned downward, 
but all reversed.^ The very weeping allows 
not weeping there, and the grief, which finds a 
barrier on the eyes, turns inward to increase the 
anguish ; for the first tears form a block, and 
like a visor of crystal fill all the cup beneath the 

And although, as in a callus, all feeling, be- 
cause of the cold, had ceased to abide in my 
face, it now seemed to me I felt some wind, 
wherefore I : " My Master, who moves this ? 

5. V. 82. Two little islands not far from the mouth of 
the Amo, on whose banks Pisa lies. 

6. V. 89. Uguccione was a son, and II Brigata a grand- 
son of Count Ugolino ; they were in fact grown men. 

7. V. 93. With faces upturned, so that the tears freeze 
in their eyes. 


vv. I05-I2I] CANTO XXXIII 229 

Is not every vapor ^ quenched here below ? " 
Whereon he to me, " Speedily shalt thou be 
where thine eye, beholding the cause that rains 
down the blast, shall make answer to thee of 

And one of the wretches of the cold crust 
cried out to us : " O souls so cruel that the last 
station has been given to you, lift from my eyes 
the hard veils, so that, before the weeping re- 
congeal, I may vent a little the woe which swells 
my heart." Wherefore I to him : "If thou 
wishest that I succor thee, tell me who thou art, 
and if I relieve thee not, may I have to go to 
the bottom of the ice." ^ He replied then : 
" I am friar Alberigo ; '° I am he of the fruits 
of the bad garden, who here get back a date 
for a fig." " " Oh ! " said I to him, " art thou 

8. V. 105. Wind being supposed to be caused by the 
action of the sun on the vapors of the atmosphere. 

9. V. 117. Misleading words, with their double mean- 

10. V. 118. Alberigo de' Manfredi, of Faenza ; one of 
the Jovial Friars (see Canto xxiii. 103). Having received a 
blow from his younger brother Manfred, he pretended to for- 
give it, and invited him and his son to a feast. Toward the 
end of the meal he gave a preconcerted signal by calling out : 
*' Bring the fruit," upon which his emissaries rushed in and 
killed the two guests. This was in 1285. The " bad fruit 
of Brother Alberigo " became a proverb. 

11. V. 120. Am paid with overplus for my sin ; a fig 

230 HELL [vv. 122-138 

then dead already ? " And he to me, " How 
my body may fare in the world above I have 
no knowledge. Such vantage hath this Ptolo- 
mea " that oftentimes the soul falls down here 
before Atropos has given motion to it.'^ And 
that thou mayst the more willingly scrape the 
glassy tears from my face, know that soon as 
the soul betrays, as I did, its body is taken 
from it by a demon, who thereafter governs it 
until its time be all revolved. It falls headlong 
into such cistern as this, and perhaps the body 
of the shade that is wintering here behind me 
still appears above. Thou shouldst know him 
if thou comest down but now ; he is Ser Branca 
d' Oria,'^ and many years have passed since he 

is the cheapest of Tuscan fruits ; the imported date is more 

12. V. 1 24. The third ring of ice, named for that Ptol- 
emy, Captain of Jericho, who, having invited them to a ban- 
quet, treacherously slew his father-in-law, the high-priest 
Simon, and his two sons (i Maccabee.s xvi. 1 1-16). 

13. V. 126. That is, before Atropos has cut the thread 
of its life on earth. This conception may have been sug- 
gested by Psalm Iv. 15, where the Psalmist, complaining of 
friend turning against friend, says, *' Let death seize upon 
them, and let them go down quick {yiventes') into hell.'* 
Such traitors as friar Alberigo, having broken not only the 
bond which nature makes between man and man, but also 
the bond of love and trust in kinship (see Canto xi. 52—63), 
have no longer part with mankind ; their abode is Hell. 

14. V. 137. A member of the famous Genoese house 

vv. I39~i5i] CANTO XXXIII 231 

was thus shut up." " I believe," said I to him, 
" that thou art deceiving me ; for Branca d' Oria 
is not yet dead, and he eats, and drinks, and 
sleeps, and puts on clothes." " In the ditch 
of the Malebranche above," he said, "there 
where the sticky pitch is boiling, Michel 
Zanche '^ had not yet arrived, when this one 
left a devil in his stead in his own body, and in 
that of one of his next kin, who committed the 
treachery together with him. But now stretch 
hither thy hand ; open my eyes for me." And 
I did not open them for him, and to be churl- 
ish to him was courtesy.'^ 

Ah Genoese ! men strange to all morality 

of Doria ; murderer, in or about 1 290, of his father-in-law, 
Michel Zanche, Governor of Logodoro, in Sardinia. The 
date of the death of Branca d* Oria is not known. 

15. V. 144. Already heard of in the fifth bolgia (Canto 
xxii. 88). 

16. V. 150. "Courtesy and propriety of behavior 
{onestade') are one and the same thing,** says Dante in the 
ConvitOy ii. 11, 60. Men who by their own act have 
broken the bond of human relationship deserve no regard. 

Pity or compassion may be righdy felt, according to St. 
Thomas Aquinas, for sinners still on earth, for they may yet 
repent and turn from sin. But in the future life there is no 
repentance. The punishment of the sinner is the evidence 
of the justice of God ; there can be no pity for him ; charity 
cannot wish the damned to be less wretched, for this would 
be to call in question the Divine justice. 5. T, SuppL 
xciv. 2. 

232 HELL [vv. 152-157 

and full of all corruption, why are ye not scat- 
tered from the world? For with the worst 
spirit of Romagna '^ I found one of you, such 
that for his deeds he is already in soul bathed 
in Cocytus, and in body he appears still alive 
on earth. 

17. V. 1 54. That is, with Friar Alberigo. 




Ninth Circle : traitors. Fourth ring : Judecca. — ■ 
Lucifer, — 'Judas^ Brutus and Cassius. — Centre of the 
universe, — Passage from HelL — Ascent to the surface 
of the Southern Hemisphere. 

" Vexilla regis prodeunt inferni ^ toward us ; 
therefore look forward," said my Master ; " see 
if thou discern him/* As when a thick fog 
breathes, or when our hemisphere darkens to 
night, a mill which the wind is turning seems 
from afar, such a structure it seemed to me that 
I then saw. 

Then, because of the wind, I drew me be- 
hind my Leader ; for no other shelter was 
there. I was now (and with fear I put it into 
verse), there "" where the shades were wholly cov- 
ered, and showed through like a straw in glass. 

1. V. I. "The banners of the King of Hell advance." 
Vexilla Regis prodeunt are the first words of a hymn in 
honor of the Cross, sung at vespers on the Feast of the 
Exaltation of the Holy Cross and also on Monday of Holy 

2. V. 1 1 . In the fourth, innermost ring of ice of the 
ninth circle, — the Judecca. 

234 HELL [vv. 13-41 

Some are lying down ; some are upright, this 
one with his head, and that with his soles upper- 
most ; another, like a bow, bends his face to his 

When we had gone so far forward that it 
pleased my Master to show me the creature 
which had the fair semblance, he took himself 
from before me and made me stop, saying: 
" Lo Dis ! and lo the place where it is needful 
that thou arm thyself with fortitude ! " How 
frozen and faint I then became, ask it not, 
Reader, for I do not write it, because all speech 
would be little. I did not die, and did not re- 
main alive : think now for thyself, if thou hast 
a grain of wit, what I became, deprived of one 
and the other.^ 

The emperor of the woeful realm issued forth 
from the ice from the middle of his breast; 
and I compare better with a giant, than the 
giants do with his arms. See now how great 
must be that whole which is conformed to such 
a part. If he was as fair as he now is foul, 
and lifted up his brows against his Maker, well 
should all tribulation proceed from him. Oh 
how great a marvel it seemed to me, when I saw 
three faces on his head ! one in front, and that 
was crimson ; the others were two, which were 
adjoined to this above the very middle of each 
3. V. 27. Deprived alike of death and of life. 


vv. 42-65] CANTO XXXIV 235 

shoulder, and they were joined up to the place 
of the crest ; and the right seemed between 
white and yellow, the left was such in appear- 
ance as those who come from there whence the 
Nile descends.^ Beneath each came forth two 
great wings, of size befitting so great a bird ; 
sails of the sea I never saw such. They had no 
feathers, but their fashion was of a bat ; and he 
was flapping them so that three winds were pro- 
ceeding from him, whereby Cocytus was all con- 
gealed. With six eyes he was weeping, and over 
three chins were trickling the tears and bloody 
drivel. At each mouth he was crushing a sin- 
ner with his teeth, in manner of a heckle, so 
that he thus was making three of them woeful. 
To the one in front the biting was nothing to 
the clawing, whereby sometimes his back re- 
mained all stripped of the skin. 

"That soul up there which has the greatest 
punishment," said the Master, " is Judas Isca- 
riot, who has his head within, and plies his legs 
outside. Of the other two who have their 
heads downwards, he who hangs from the black 

4. V. 45. The three faces exhibit the devilish counter- 
part of the attributes of the three persons of the Godhead, 
Impotence, Ignorance, and Hate as opposed to Power, Wis- 
dom, and Love (see Canto iii. 5, 6) ; Impotence scarlet 
with rage. Ignorance black with its own darkness. Hate pale 
yellow with jealousy and envy. 

236 HELL [vv. 66-85 

muzzle is Brutus ; see how he writhes and says 
not a word ; and the other is Cassius, who seems 
so large-Hmbed.s But the night is rising again ; 
and now we must depart, for we have seen the 

As was his pleasure, I clasped his neck, and 
he took advantage of time and place, and when 
the wings were wide opened he caught hold on 
the shaggy flanks ; down from shag to shag he 
then descended between the matted hair and 
the frozen crusts. When we were where the 
thigh turns just on the thick of the haunch, my 
Leader, with effort and stress of breath, turned 
his head to where he had had his shanks, and 
grappled to the hair like one who mounts, so 
that 1 believed we were returning again to hell. 

" Cling fast hold," said the Master, panting 
like one weary, " for by such stairs must we de- 
part from so great evil." Then he Came forth 
through the cleft of a rock, and placed me upon 

5. Y. 6j. Judas, Brutus and Cassius are the worst of 
traitors, having not only betrayed their benefactors, but also, 
in doing so, having done violence to the divinely ordered 
scheme for the well-being of mankind. Christ, betrayed by 
Judas, was the head of the Church, the supreme spiritual 
authority. Caesar, betrayed by Brutus and Cassius, was re- 
garded by Dante as the founder of the Empire, the supreme 
authority in temporal affairs. Church and Empire were in 
Dante's scheme equally divine institutions for the government 
of the world. 

vv. 86-101] CANTO XXXIV 237 

its edge to sit ; then stretched toward me his 
cautious step. 

I raised my eyes, and thought to see Luci- 
fer as I had left him, and I saw him holding his 
legs upward ; and if I then became perplexed, 
let the dull folk suppose it, who see not what 
that point is which I had passed.^ 

" Rise up on foot,'' said the Master ; " the 
way is long and the road is difficult, and already 
the sun returns to mid-tierce." ^ 

It was no hallway of a palace where we were, 
but a natural dungeon which had a bad floor, 
and lack of light. " Before I tear myself from 
the Abyss," said I when I had risen up, " my 

6. V. 93. This point is the centre of the universe ; when 
Virgil had turned upon the haunch of Lucifer, the passage 
had been made from one hemisphere of the earth — the in- 
habited and known hemisphere — to the other where no 
living men dwell, and where the only land is the mountain 
of Purgatory. In changing one hemisphere for the other 
there is a change of time of twelve hours, from about sunset 
to about sunrise. A second Saturday morning begins for the 
poets, and they pass nearly as long a time as they have been 
in Hell, that is, twenty-four hours, in traversing the long and 
hard way that leads to the surface of the hemisphere into which 
they have just entered. 

7. V. 96. Tierce is the name given to the first three 
hours after sunrise. Mid-tierce consequently at the equinox 
is about half-past seven o'clock. In Hell Dante never men- 
tions the sun to mark division of time, but now, having issued 
from Hell, Virgil marks the hour by a reference to the sun. 

238 HELL [vv. 102-122 

Master, talk a little with me to draw me out of 
error. Where is the ice ? and this one, how is 
he fixed thus upside down ? and how in such 
short while has the sun made transit from even- 
ing to morning ? ** And he to me : " Thou 
imaginest that thou still art on the other side 
of the centre, where I laid hold on the hair of 
the wicked Worm that pierces the world. On 
that side thou wast so long as I descended ; when 
I turned, thou didst pass the point to which 
from every part all weighty things are drawn ; ^ 
and thou art now arrived beneath the hemi- 
sphere which is opposite to that which the great 
dry land covers, and beneath whose zenith the 
Man was slain who was born and lived without 
sin : thou hast thy feet upon a little circle ^ 
which forms the other face of the Judecca. 
Here it is morning when it is evening there ; 
and this one who made a ladder for us with his 
hair is still fixed even as he was before. On 
this side he fell down from heaven, and the 
earth, which before was spread out on this side, 

8. V. 1 1 1. The central point of the Universe, to which 
all matter tends by its gravity. 

9. V. 116. Literally, "upon a little sphere," but 
<* sphere " is a rhyme word, and the meaning seems to be. 
Thou art now standing on a little circular space of rock, 
which forms the other face of the Judecca, the upper or the 
under side, according to whether it is viewed from the south- 
ern or the northern hemisphere. 

vv. 123-136] CANTO XXXIV 239 

through fear of him made of the sea a veil, and 
came to our hemisphere; and perhaps to fly 
from him that land which appears on this side 
left here this vacant space and ran back up- 
ward." ^° 

A place is there below, stretching as far from 
Beelzebub as his tomb extends," which is not 
known by sight, but by the sound of a rivulet 
which descends here along the hollow of a rock 
that it has gnawed with its winding and gently 
sloping course." My Leader and I entered 
by that hidden road, to return into the bright 
world; and without care to have any repose, 
we mounted up, he first and I second, so far 

10. V. 126. Dante's conception appears to be, that at 
the Creation the Southern hemisphere of the Earth was occu- 
pied by the dry land, while the Northern was a hemisphere 
of waters, and that, at the fall of Lucifer on the Southern 
hemisphere, the land recoiled in horror to the Northern, 
forcing the waters of the latter to fill the place which it left 
void. At the same moment the interior of the globe into 
which Lucifer was hurled fled from him, and rising, amid 
the waters of the Southern hemisphere, formed the solitary 
Mount of Purgatory, which bore the Earthly Paradise on its 

11. V. 128. Hell is his tomb ; this vacant dark passage 
through the opposite hemisphere is, of course, of the same 
depth as Hell from surface to centre. 

12. V. I 3 2. Literally, *' with the course which it winds 
and little slopes.** It is the streamlet of sin from Purgatory 
which finds its way back to Satan, 

240 HELL [vv. 137-139 

that through a round opening I saw some of 
the beautiful things which Heaven bears, and 
thence we issued forth again to see the stars/^ 

13. V. 139. Eachof the divisions of the poem ends with 
the words — «* the stars." 

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